A Southern California methane gas leak has forced thousands of residents of Porter Ranch to be evacuated to hotels. (https://twitter.com/grogreena/status/674998440066228224)
A Southern California methane gas leak near the affluent community of Porter Ranch has forced at least 1675 households to relocate. The Southern California Gas Company is paying for the relocations while it tries to repair the leak at its storage facility in the nearby Santa Susana Mountains.
Prior to being moved into temporary housing, many area residents complained of a variety of symptoms including nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, headaches, coughing, eye irritation, fatigue, dizziness, sore throats and nose bleeds. At least one child was taken to the emergency room as a result of their symptoms.
The leak was first reported on October 23, 2015, but the gas company was not able to locate the leak until late December. Even after locating it, the company has said that it will be between late February and late March, 2016 before they will be able to complete the repair. The reason it will take so long is because they will have to drill down over 8,500 feet and pour cement into the hole in order to plug the leak.
This environmental disaster is being compared to the BP Oil Spill. It is the largest natural gas leak ever recorded.
Health issues are not the only problem caused by the leak. The FAA also initiated flight restrictions up to 2,000 feet and one-half mile around the site.
Dangerous Toxins Found in the Southern California Methane Gas Leak
The Southern California Air Quality District reports that, in addition to elevated levels of methane gas in the area, there are also slightly elevated levels of hydrocarbons, including propane and ethane.
The biggest health concern, however, is that benzene levels are three to five times the levels found in urban Los Angeles. Long-term exposure to benzene is known to cause cancer in humans.
The plume of methane gas plume has also been picked up on infrared cameras:
Lives Disrupted for Thousands of Residents
People who live in the area have also had their lives disrupted by being forced to move to hotels and other temporary housing. In addition, the school district relocated classes for hundreds of young students.
Many people have found themselves moving out of large homes, only to live in cramped conditions with several children and their pets crowded into hotel rooms. Although their costs are being covered by the Southern California Gas Company, their living conditions are still uncomfortable for many of these families.
Deborah Dian is the Stock Market and California correspondent for The Daily Voice News, as well as following some entertainment news. She lives in Southern California where she is president of an investment club and an avid follower of the stock market. She is also the author of a retirement planning blog, Baby-Boomer-Retirement.com. She has a B.S. degree in Human Environmental Design from the University of Missouri, and enjoys travel, horseback riding, and the Southern California lifestyle. Contact her at [email protected]