Environment & Science

Gas company says parks near Porter Ranch are now clean

Porter Ranch neighborhood sign outside Southern California Gas Co.'s Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility.
Porter Ranch neighborhood sign outside Southern California Gas Co.'s Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility.
Sharon McNary/KPCC

Southern California Gas Co. says it has finished cleaning four parks in Porter Ranch where brown spots were found that may be oily residue from the massive gas leak there.

The utility announced Saturday that cleanup work was completed for parks near the site of an underground well that spewed natural gas into the air for months. The leak prompted the evacuation of thousands of Porter Ranch residents before the well was sealed last month.

Those parks are the Holleigh Bernson Memorial and Moonshine Canyon parks at Sesnon Boulevard and Porter Ranch Drive, Palisades Park at Tampa Avenue and Braemore Road, Viking Park at Viking Avenue and Nau Avenue, and Porter Ridge Park at Sesnon Boulevard and Beaufait Avenue.

SoCalGas said it continues to clean the outside of homes where brown spots have been reported. It's assessing about 200 homes.

The utility said sampling of the brown residue indicated that it doesn't pose a health risk.

On Friday, SoCalGas announced it would provide free indoor-air screening for a sampling of homes to test for the presence of methane and mercaptan (the odorant injected into natural gas that gives off a sulfur smell as a safety measure). The screenings were requested by Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich.

The utility said results of the screenings would be provided to residents within one week of the tests.

“I think the gas company offering to do a sampling of homes in Porter Ranch to confirm the indoor air is safe is a great idea,” Paula Cracium, president of the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council, said in a news release provided by SoCalGas. “Families want to come home, but to a safe home and this will help give them the assurance their homes are safe and help us begin rebuilding our community.”

The natural-gas leak was discovered in October after area residents' complaints. It was stopped on Feb. 11, and the well was permanently sealed on Feb. 18.

“We recognize that some residents, particularly those who have decided to remain in temporary housing, have questions about the air in their homes,” said Gillian Wright, SoCalGas vice president of customer services. “We strongly believe that our customers and neighbors in Porter Ranch deserve peace of mind in knowing the air is normal, and we are taking action to enable a smooth transition back to their homes and neighborhoods.”