County to Vent Excavation on Orange Grove

Vents to forestall a buildup of methane gas will be installed along north Orange Grove Avenue as part of an agreement between residents and Los Angeles County, which is digging up the street for a storm drain project.

According to an agreement presented in Superior Court Wednesday, the county also will provide temporary housing for an estimated eight residents whose health may suffer as a result of the construction work.

A spokeswoman for Supervisor Ed Edelman said tests showed no significant amount of methane in the ground under the street.

"However, because methane is known to be in the area, we thought it prudent to vent the project," she said.

Details of alternate housing for those whose health may be affected are yet to be worked out. However, those eligible must have "verifiable, serious medical conditions," she said.

Attorney Hired

"These were things that were life-threatening situations, which the county had not agreed to provide prior to the litigation," said attorney Dan Stormer, who represented residents of the 300 and 400 blocks of Orange Grove Avenue. Stormer filed a suit asking for a restraining order to halt the construction work until the residents' complaints could be heard.

The agreement also includes provisions against workmen playing radios loudly, shouting, or drinking beer on the site.

It was reached after work began March 17 on the excavation, which is part of a $14-million project intended to link the conduit under Orange Grove Avenue with a flood retention basin at Pan Pacific Park.

Eventually, the system will connect storm drains in the Hollywood Hills with existing conduits leading to the ocean.

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