Member-supported news for Southern California
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Support for KPCC comes from:

Dozens of Porter Ranch homes report new smells, but inspectors don't

Monitors placed around Porter Ranch showed a slight increase in methane levels to about 4 parts per million Wednesday, April 13, 2016, but far below the 40 parts per million registered during the four-month long gas leak
South Coast Air Quality Management District
Monitors placed around Porter Ranch showed a slight increase in methane levels to about 4 parts per million Wednesday, April 13, 2016, but far below the 40 parts per million registered during the four-month long gas leak

Air quality inspectors on Wednesday were unable to confirm more than 40 complaints of odors near the giant Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field that leaked for four months over the fall and winter.

A spokesman from the South Coast Air Quality Management District said the agency has yet to process data from a mobile testing unit that was dispatched to the area following the complaints.

Southern California Gas Company said it had no reports of any leaks at the storage field. "There is no unusual release of gas up there, period," spokesman Mike Mizrahi said. He said the company also checked for methane leaks and found none.

Local monitors used to detect methane, the main ingredient in natural gas, showed somewhat higher hourly readings early Wednesday, peaking at about 4 parts per million. That is slightly above the background level of 2 parts per million normally found in the region.

At the height of the four-month leak that was capped in February, methane levels were at 40 parts per million or higher, according to AQMD spokesman Sam Atwood. His agency has received 42 complaints about odors, starting around 7 a.m. this Wednesday from people in Porter Ranch and other communities near the storage field.

Porter Ranch resident Zura Riyaz said the smell began overnight, leaving her 11-year-old daughter nauseous and causing her son's nose to bleed. She said the smell dissipated later in the morning, and when a gas company representative arrived in response to her complaint, the person found no smell.

Porter Ranch resident Rosemary Neal said she also smelled natural gas early Wednesday morning and that it dissipated within a few hours.

The AQMD sent its methane-detecting SUV around Porter Ranch and onto the grounds of the Aliso Canyon gas field, but its data won't be online until Thursday, Atwood said.