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Here's Why It Might Smell Like Gas In West L.A Today

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Smelling gas on the Westside today? Don't panic, your oven isn't leaking. Southern California Gas Company advised West L.A. residents not to be alarmed if they detected the scent of natural gas in the air on Friday. SoCalGas crews working on a pipeline project briefly conducted a controlled release of natural gas Thursday night for about two-and-a-half hours starting at 9 p.m. on Sepulveda Boulevard near Wilshire Boulevard.

"It was a controlled release, and it ended at 11:30 p.m. last night," SoCalGas spokesperson Rosa Maria Santana told LAist.

SoCalGas crews have been digging up a pipeline by Sepulveda Boulevard in West L.A. for the past few months as part of a region-wide program to test its natural gas transmission lines. Crews working last night had replaced a supply pipeline and were in the process of putting the new pipeline into service, according to Santana. Santana said that crews “vent” pipelines by safely releasing natural gas to prepare for routine maintenance of pipelines.

Santana also told LAist that natural gas itself is odorless and colorless, and that the odor is added in as a safety precaution. "The smell is put into the natural gas so people are aware that natural gas is being released, or so they can see that 'oh, I need to go over and turn off the stove,'" Santana said.

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Natural gas is non-toxic and lighter than air, so released gas will rise and dissipate safely on its own. According to City News Service, the smell may be detected this morning in areas of West Los Angeles, Santa Monica and the Pacific Palisades.