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What’s that smell?

A contractor for the city will conduct a controlled release of compressed natural gas at Evanston’s city service center Wednesday morning.

It’s part of the steps needed to decommission the EVNORSKO compressed natural gas station in the service center at 2020 Asbury Ave.

The City Council voted recently to scrap the facility after usage of compressed natural gas to power fleet vehicles failed to take off among any of the three users — the City of Evanston, the Village of Skokie and Northwestern University — that collaborated to set up the station in 2002.

City officials say contractor Oakbrook Mechanical plans to start the release at 9 a.m. to reduce pressure in the gas storage tanks from 3,000 pounds per square inch to normal atmospheric pressure.

The process is expected to take up to 2.5 hours.

Depending on weather and wind conditions, officials say there should be "minimal" gas odor and some whistling noise from the release.

Officials say the controlled release must happen before the unit can be hoisted and transported by the new owner.

Oakbrook Mechanical was the original installer of the system and has done similar work for both public gas utilities in Northern Illinois.

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