BETHEL, Ohio (FOX19) - If you heard a loud noise Wednesday morning near Bethel and saw tall flames, Duke Energy doesn’t want you to be worried because it’s part of their ‘flaring’ process to rid the area of natural gas.
The company says flaring is a routine and safe process that natural gas utilities use to release and burn off natural gas, but the process may cause a loud noise and tall flame that can be seen from a distance.
Duke says early Wednesday morning, customers in and around Bethel, Batavia and Williamsburg reported the smell of natural gas and potential leaks at homes and businesses.
The natural gas company says this is the result of an excess of odorant inadvertently injected into the natural gas system near Bethel.
They say natural gas companies add this odorant so customers can detect gas leaks by spells because natural gas itself is odorless.
However, because of the increased level of the odorant entering the natural gas system east of Cincinnati, some customers experienced a more noticeable smell of natural gas during their normal use of the fuel at home and work, Dukes says.
Duke Energy says they plan to burn off the natural gas that contains the increased levels of the ordorant.
The ‘flaring’ process, as it’s called, happened outside of Bethel at 10 a.m. and was expected to last about four to six hours.
Duke says they coordinated with local fire departments and requested their presence during the operations.
The company says customers will not see an interruption in natural gas service during the flaring.
Duke says they did investigate the reported leaks Wednesday morning, but none were found. They say to always report any suspected leaks immediately.
Even though there are currently no actual leaks, the company offered tips to people who suspect a natural gas leak:
- Evacuate everyone from the premise immediately.
- Keep others a safe distance away.
- From a safe location, call 911 and Duke Energy at 800.634.4300.
They say if you suspect a natural gas leak, this is what not to do:
- Operate electrical equipment that could create a spark, such as a cellphone, light switch or matches.
- Turn vehicles or equipment on or off.
- Re-enter the home or building until cleared to do so by a Duke Energy representative.