That smell? It was a very large natural gas release, Florida DEP says

3 million cubic feet of gas released from compressor station on Steer Lake Road

A gas burner.
A gas burner.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A loud noise and strange odor reported by Gotha and Windermere residents Thursday was caused by a large natural gas release, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Sunoco gas.

The Florida DEP issued a public notice of pollution Friday for the event saying more than 3 million cubic feet of natural gas was released from a compressor station at Steer Lake Road near Apopka Vineland Road.

The smelly release was enough to power the average American home for more than 38 years, according to 2004 American Gas Association data.

For comparison, the U.S. consumed about 30.08 trillion cubic feet of natural gas last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The loud noise reported by residents just before 10 p.m. was created when an electrical component failed on a control panel that controls the emergency shutdown system at a Sunoco gas transfer station, according to a spokesperson.

The smell that followed came from the mainline gas stream, which has an odor, according to Sunoco.

"Once we were able to remedy the situation, the station blew down completely and the noise and odor event was over. At no time was there any danger to those who live in the vicinity of our facility," Sunoco spokeswoman Amanda Gorguerio said. "We apologize for the inconvenience and disruption to our local neighbors. We do plan to reach out to them to answer any questions they may have. The station is back in operation."​​​​​​​

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