Health

SoCal Gas wrapping up its court-ordered cleaning of Porter Ranch homes

Porter Ranch residents hold a news conference in Nov. 2015. The natural gas leak was first reported on Oct. 23.
Porter Ranch residents hold a news conference in Nov. 2015. The natural gas leak was first reported on Oct. 23.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Listen to story

00:45
Download this story 0.0MB

Southern California Gas Co. says it's just about finished with the cleanup of homes in Porter Ranch, meaning the last of several thousand households displaced by the massive natural gas blowout at the Aliso Canyon storage facility will soon be returning home.

Last month, a Los Angeles County Superior Court ordered SoCal Gas to offer to clean the houses of displaced people who had not yet gone home. Many worried that their properties still contained contaminants spread by the leak that continued for nearly four months before crews sealed the well on Feb. 18.

The invisible stew of chemicals that spewed from the well are believed to have caused headaches, dizziness, bloody noses, nausea and other health problems. 
 
Of some 8,000 households that relocated during the leak, there were roughly 2,500 still living in temporary quarters when the judge ordered the cleanup effort. SoCal Gas says about 1,700 requested a cleaning.

The company says the 110 crews it hired for the job have been following a detailed cleaning protocol laid out by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
 
A SoCal Gas spokeswoman says all that remains are follow-up visits to a "small" number of homes where residents requested additional cleaning.
 
Under the court order, relocation assistance for the remaining displaced ends two days after crews finish cleaning their homes.  Those in long-term leases will be allowed to stay through the end of those leases, the order stated.

In a shareholder report last month, SoCalGas estimated it would spend about $465 million on the relocation and cleanup by June 7. The firm's spokeswoman was unable to update that estimate Friday.