Chemical leak spreads odor for miles


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A chemical leak at a Pennsylvania natural gas well has spread the odor associated with a gas leak, but officials say no gas actually leaked.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that a mercaptan tank at a well in Derry started leaking around 2 a.m. Jan. 10.

Mercaptan is a pungent but non-toxic substance that is often added to natural gas so it can be smelled in case of a leak, since the gas itself has no odor. The mercaptan leak spread the odor for several miles.

Officials have since plugged the tank. Emergency dispatchers say no gas leaked from the well, only mercaptan.

The Westmoreland County Department of Public Safety says it's unclear what caused the leak. Officials say it will take time for the smell to dissipate.
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