A leaking SoCal Gas plant has raised alarm among Los Angeles residents, who are asking authorities to address the problem immediately.
The uncontrolled air contamination has been encountered at a natural gas storage field operated by the Southern California Gas Company in Aliso Canyon, in the vicinity of the Northridge neighborhood in Los Angeles.
According to the residents, natural gas emerging from a storage well located within the factory’s perimeter has been polluting the area, severely endangering their health.
As they explained, several of them have experienced headaches, dyspnea, nausea and other symptoms associated with breathing in chemicals which fill the tainted air.
This has been going on for almost a month now, without officials taking any action to combat the contamination, and without a potential solution appearing in sight.
Moreover, representatives of the Southern California Gas Company have paid little attention to their concerns, claiming that in fact the leak was too minuscule and too deep in the ground (several hundreds of feet below), to represent an actual threat to the population.
This viewpoint is also shared by county health department officials, who have said that while short-term symptoms might persist for a while, there isn’t any risk for long term implications.
In response, those who had been repeatedly exposed to natural gas on a daily basis have said that these misleading statements are extremely harmful, since they belittle the actual implications of the pollution.
In fact, the methane leak corresponds to around a quarter of all the natural gas emissions measured across the state of California, and the carbon dioxide that has been released is the equivalent of using up to 90 million gallons of fuel.
As a result, a street protest took place on Monday night, to draw attention to the fact that the Porter Ranch facility from the Santa Susana Mountains can no longer remain operational, given that its security has been compromised.
Cliff Gimbert, one of the demonstrators, revealed that his daughter whose school is near the plant has been having headaches and constant nosebleeds for weeks, and that he feels helpless and terrified thinking about how damaging the pollution has been to her.
Another local, Karolanne Kim, recounted that upon inhaling the highly contaminated air she experienced such accelerated heart beat that she feared she was on the verge of a heart attack.
Dozens of extremely distressed and frustrated locals will be participating at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, November 24, in order to make a testimony regarding the problematic gas leak.
The plaintiffs are demanding that local authorities immediately investigate the factory, so as to identify the source of the breach, and stop the air contamination from becoming even more life-threatening.
It is expected that the discussion will also be attended by members of the Los Angeles City Planning, Public Health and Fire Departments.
Meanwhile, officials have declared that approximately 30 families have already been temporarily evacuated from the area, and moved elsewhere, until the leak is contained.
Moreover, California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources has already ordered the SoCal Gas company devise a crisis management plan, so that the pollution can be halted.
Apparently, efforts are being carried out to resolve the breach using a relief well and by spraying other chemicals over the gas leak, but such measures are bound to extend across several months.
In addition, representatives of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) have announced that they would inform the offending polluter that it’s out of compliance with applicable rules and that its actions have amounted to a public nuisance.
As revealed by AQMD member Michael Antonovich, a notice of violation detailing these accusations would be filed soon against the natural gas provider. Another investigation will be performed by the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Image Source: KTLA