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Posted on: May 24, 2017

'Natural Gas' Odor Pinpointed To Commercial Printing Company Exhaust

Geneva Fire Department
The Geneva Fire Department has responded to several reports of a “natural gas-like” odor since May 23 on the City’s west side. Firefighters have determined the smell is emanating from normal exhaust at a Geneva commercial printing company and is not posing any danger to the community.

During a current production run, the company is printing materials for a customer that has a small scratch-and-sniff area being applied. The scent being used for the scratch-and-sniff contains Mercaptan, the same odorant that is added to natural gas to make it detectable. Through air monitoring, the Fire Department has determined there is no immediate combustible gas hazard on Geneva’s west side.

Mercaptan is a harmless, organic substance made of carbon, hydrogen, and sulphur that is detectable to the human nose at levels of less than one part per million. Since natural gas in its pure state does not have a smell, Mercaptan is the ideal additive to colorless, odorless gases so they can be identified well before they reach hazardous levels.

The printing company, which operates on Gary Lane, will be continuing its production run from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Thursday, May 25. Residents in the vicinity may continue to periodically smell the Mercaptan depending on current wind speed and direction. 

However, should people believe an odor is stemming from another source, or if they have knowledge of an actual natural gas leak, please call 911 immediately to report the incident.

Residents with questions regarding the print production smell can call the Geneva Fire Department at 630-232-2530. 

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