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Purging of natural gas by MUD led to evacuations of schools and businesses

Posted at 3:22 PM, Oct 09, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Did the air smell rotten to you on monday?

MUD confirmed that it purged natural gas from its facility near 117th and Fort, preparing for a construction project.

The work was done by mid-morning.

But, because of the wind, the utility said the odor moved and lingered for a while.

It prompted evacuations at four OPS schools and some businesses.

The schools included:

  • Beveridge Middle
  • Burke High
  • Crestridge Elementary
  • Joslyn Elementary

All four returned to their buildings a short time later, after receiving the all-clear from MUD.

3 News Now asked MUD whether it communicated with anyone ahead of time, about the scheduled work and how to better minimize concern.


"Natural gas purging is customary for M.U.D. operations. In advance of this morning’s purging, M.U.D. did notify the Omaha Fire Department and non-emergency 911.

The event today was larger than most work that occurs. Odorant was released into the atmosphere.

Weather conditions play a large part in what the public experiences. We want to be made aware of all natural gas odors discovered and it is not customary to notify the general public when our scheduled work occurs.

For easy detection, we add a harmless chemical (mercaptan) to give gas a distinctive odor like skunk or rotten eggs.

We respond to all notifications of natural gas odors.

M.U.D. will check suspected gas leaks at no charge. If you smell gas, leave the building or area, and then call 402-554-7777 or 911.

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