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UPDATED: The Smell of Natural Gas in the Morning

by ARLnow.com February 9, 2011 at 8:52 am 3,202 18 Comments

(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) Residents in some parts of Arlington woke up to the smell of sewer natural gas.

Many called the fire department to report the gas smell, which the county’s Department of Environmental Services says is an issue that Washington Gas is investigating.

According to DES, the smell was reported in Fairfax County, Northwest D.C. and as far away as West Virginia.

  • Steve

    And I was blaming my dog.

  • TryTheTacos

    I was in Ashburn this morning and I said to my wife as we left: “Does it smell like butt out here to you?”

    • BoredHouseWife

      Your handle is not lost on me.

  • Me

    Here is the story . . . Washington Gas added an odorant to the system and in doing this there was a little extra pressure; these two things together has caused people to smell what appears to be a leak but is actually the typical “system”.

  • G

    For years there has been a strong smell of sewer gas along the four mile run trail near the intersection of Columbia pike and S Four mile run dr. Right near the Carlton Condo building. The smell is really bad along a roughly 50+ meter stretch along the trail. Does anyone know why it always smells here?

    • Overgrown Bush

      The sewer line in that area follows Four Mile Run, and the terrain is relatively flat. When sewer flows drop, typically in the over night hours but also some lower flows during day hours, the sewage has more time to stagnate in the pipe because the slope of the pipe is low. Hydrogen sulfide gas is produced when sewage has time to stagnate, and that is the gas you smell.

    • KalishnaKAVEMAN

      That’s the smell of poor people and immigrants.

      • whomee

        I thought it was the eight remaining republicans left in the county

  • CW

    I don’t know about that exact section, but if its been persistent for that long, you should report it to the county. There could be something leaking that should not be.

    Last year, they discovered some type of (sewage?) leak near Columbia Pike and South George Mason, which is not all that far from where you’re talking about. Part of it leaked into the stream, and the county left notices on all the nearby house doors, saying to keep kids and pets out of the stream, for the time being.

    Given all that, I would report the smell to the county, so that they can follow up on it.

    • CW

      That post was meant as a response to “G.”

      • CW

        Hey! I am CW!! There can’t be other “CW”s out there!

        Can we get this site to a real live forum format with logins and usernames ASAP?

    • G

      I just reported it. Given that it’s smelled like this for so long, I’d be surprised if the county didn’t know about it. I’ve always figured there was nothing they could do. I guess we’ll find out…

      • BoredHouseWife

        The county has lined the sewers several times up in the residential areas near the creek. Hopefully, it helps. These sewer pipes are almost 70 years old and 8 ft in the ground.

        • Overgrown Bush

          I would guess the smell likely is eminating from the manholes. The pipes may be lines, but the covers are usually only set in place or screwed down with no seal.

  • This morning, calls came in from residents in West Virginia, Northwest Fairfax, Northern Arlington, Northwest DC, and Maryland reporting a smell of gas. The reports started in West Virginia and traveled through the region up into Maryland. Washington Gas currently is investigating the issue.

  • kingindc

    There is a strong smell of gas daily in my neighborhood, right off washington blvd, behind Rocklands. If it’s sewer gas, is there really anything the county can do?

    • Novanglus

      I’ve noticed that, too. Whenever I’m driving on Lincoln near the Y I think there’s something wrong with my brakes. I thought it was Rocklands’ smoker.

    • charlie

      actually i think there is a problem over there. i smell on both 13th and 14th.
      and also at kirkwood and 15th cul-de-sac behind the school.


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