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HUNTINGTON BEACH : Condo Site Still Monitored for Gas

Fire officials are continuing to monitor a new condominium development site where a methane gas leak was discovered last month.

Because of a ruptured gas line, high levels of methane were found in the subterranean garage of a just-completed condominium complex on Pacific Coast Highway at 19th Street.

The gas line in which the leak occurred is probably beneath a nearby street, and the vapors from the leak somehow made their way into the parking structure, said Mark Bodenbender, oil specialist for the Huntington Beach Fire Department. “It possibly followed some water lines and accumulated in the building,” he said.

His staff said that the methane must be cleared out and that the potential for further leaks be mitigated before the complex may be occupied.

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The property owners and the Chevron Corp. and Shell Oil Co., who share the gas line, hired an engineering firm to remove the excess gas and to continue studying the site to make sure no further leaks occur.

Methane readings in the underground structure now show none or very little of the gas, and the garage is now safe to enter, according to a preliminary report issued by the firm, GeoScience Analytical Co.

Based on those findings, city Fire Department oil specialists have cleared the garage for use.

“They’ve removed all the contaminated soil and have solved the problem,” said Bodenbender, who added that the leak appears to have been a “very isolated incident.”

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The Fire Department, however, is continuing to keep watch.


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