Environment & Science

Large Porter Ranch gas leak prompts relocation offers to residents

Porter Ranch Town Center, 2014. Some Porter Ranch residents are being relocated in light of a large, ongoing gas leak in the city.
Porter Ranch Town Center, 2014. Some Porter Ranch residents are being relocated in light of a large, ongoing gas leak in the city.
Flickr/Clotee Allochuku

The Southern California Gas Company has been ordered to provide Porter Ranch residents with free relocation options after a massive natural gas leak.

This comes a month after crews first noticed the gas was spilling out of a steel well. Since then, residents from miles around have complained of nosebleeds, headaches and vomiting spells. The California Air Resources Board says the methane is being released at a rate of about 50,000 kilograms per hour.

Paula Cracium, president of the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council, says you can smell the gas everywhere. 

"When you turn on your stove, before the pilot light, if you have a gas stove -- that's the smell," said Cracium. "It's that sulfur-y, rotten egg kind of smell. The effects are everything from just annoying--you don't wanna be outside because it stinks really bad--to having some significant health effects."

Crews have already tried to fix the leak four times. SoCal Gas is now warning it could take months to repair.

The LA City Council voted Friday to question the gas company about the leak. The Board of Supervisors will also hold a public hearing about the issue on Tuesday.

Correction: An earlier version of this story suggested mandatory relocations were underway for residents near the gas leak. The relocations are being offered to residents, but are not compulsory.