Natural gas odorant spill causes lingering stench in Cheviot Hills

Authorities determined Thursday that a strong gas odor that blanketed a large swath of the Westside for hours resulted from a spill of a natural gas odorant.

Reports began coming in around 9:10 p.m. Wednesday, prompting the Southern California Gas Co. to send crews to the intersection of Pico Boulevard and Overland Avenue to investigate, said utility spokeswoman Melissa Bailey. The Los Angeles Fire Department also responded, and residents were advised to close their doors and windows until the source could be identified.

Cheviot Hills, Rancho Park and Palms were among the areas where the odor was strong.

According to the utility, the odor was not caused by a gas leak, but by a spill of a non-toxic odorant that is added to natural gas as a safety precaution.

"SoCalGas crews discovered the odorant spill from a facility operated by SoCalGas at an independent oil and natural gas production facility in the West Los Angeles area,'' the utility said in a statement. "SoCalGas operates equipment at the oil and gas facility that odorizes the natural gas produced there before it enters the natural gas pipeline system.''

The spill was cleaned up, and the odor was expected to dissipate gradually during the day.

"The odorant does not present a health risk to the public,'' the statement said. "SoCalGas has notified the appropriate regulatory agencies and is investigating the cause of the spill.''

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