Porter Ranch Residents Uneasy After Latest Aliso Canyon Gas Leak

PORTER RANCH (CBSLA.com) – A new leak discovered in an above-ground pipeline at the Aliso Canyon storage facility had nearby Porter Ranch residents again very concerned.

“Doesn’t make me happy, I want them to shut it down,” Porter Ranch resident Diane Sabitz told KCAL9 Saturday.

In an email sent out to nearby residents, the Southern California Gas Company said crews discovered the natural gas leak Friday afternoon in an 8-inch pipe during a routine inspection. A SoCalGas spokesperson confirmed to KCAL9 the leak was capped at 7:40 p.m Friday.

“The release is minor and does not pose a risk to safety, health or the environment,” the email read. “Methane detection levels on the fence line monitoring system are normal.”

However, that did not allay neighbors’ fears.

“It’s not good,” homeowner Debbie Smith said. “It’s not good, especially with the people who are affected. I feel bad for them.”

Aliso Canyon was the site of a historic methane leak that began in October 2015 and was not capped until February 2016. It emitted 109,000 metric tons of methane and displaced at least 7,000 Porter Ranch area residents for months. It also led to mass complaints of health issues ranging from headaches to cancer.

“They continue to have problems, and I don’t think they are open with their disclosures, nor have they ever been,” Sabitz said.

With more than 100 deep underground wells, Aliso Canyon is the largest natural gas storage site in the West and is considered critical to the Los Angeles area for home heating and to power gas-fired electricity plants during energy spikes.

However, the SoCalGas facility has been crippled since the blowout was discovered. Less than a third of the 113 wells at the aging former oil field have passed rigorous inspections. The remaining ones have been taken out of service and must pass state-mandated tests within a year or be permanently sealed.

One homeowner tells CBSLA’s Greg Mills that people can’t sell their homes or even rent them out and that investors and speculators come by offering 50 cents on the dollar.

Denchali Soltani, whose family has lived in Porter Ranch for six years is concerned for the health of her young children.

“There’s always that question mark outstanding in our head,” Soltani said. “Are we safe? Do we go?”

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