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Northwestern Energy explains natural gas smell that lingered across Bozeman this week

Posted at 2:34 PM, Nov 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-14 16:34:48-05

If you smelled gas in Bozeman on Tuesday, you weren’t imagining things.

According to Northwestern Energy, routine maintenance at a pipeline near Bozeman caused the smell to reach across the city.

Officials with Northwestern Energy say they received around 30 reports from the area, including a school, with concerns about the smell.

They add there is nothing to worry about.

Officials say the smell was the result of what they call a “blow down," when engineers cut into a natural gas transmission pipeline, a small amount of gas went into the atmosphere.

When it started to fade, the smell settled into the areas below.

“Natural gas, like they say, is very light and it’s like helium," says Patrick Patterson, operations manager at Northwestern Energy in Bozeman. "It dissipates into the atmosphere very readily and it goes up and so it wasn’t a hazard but the odorant was settling down and that’s what people were smelling. We do apologize for the confusion and the inconvenience that it caused.”

Northwestern Energy says there was never a threat to the community in any way.

Officials add those phone calls were very helpful and say is important to contact them if there are future concerns.