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California

Residents report nosebleeds and headaches after new leak at Aliso Canyon natural gas facility

PORTER RANCH, CALIF. -- TUESDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2017: Diane Pinky Harmon, center of Porter Ranch, join
Diane Pinky Harmon, center, of Porter Ranch, joins residents of surrounding communities at the intersection of Rinaldi Street and Tampa Ave. in Porter Ranch to protest the continuing operation of the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Southern California Gas Co. late Monday reported a leak at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility during a routine operation to pressurize equipment after maintenance.

In a community alert, the company said the leak occurred about 4:55 p.m. and didn’t pose any health risks, though it did produce a noticeable odor.

But Andrew Krowne, a Northridge resident who developed a cellphone application for those within 18 miles of the facility to report health issues, said 34 people reported symptoms including headaches, nosebleeds, and burning of the eyes and throat.

The leak was shut off within about 50 minutes and residents were notified about 7:40 p.m., according to the utility’s alert.

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Since Krowne’s app became available in October, more than 150 users have reported 2,200 symptoms, he said.

The facility is the site of the largest methane leak in U.S. history. Starting in 2015, a ruptured well spewed tens of thousands of tons of gas, forcing roughly 8,000 families in the northwest San Fernando Valley from their homes. Many complained of health issues that included cancer, nausea and nosebleeds.

The blowout, which at its peak more than doubled the methane emissions of the entire Los Angeles Basin, took more than four months to plug. It sparked a political firestorm, with residents and elected officials demanding that the facility be shut down.

“It has no business being around homes,” Krowne said.

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alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

Twitter: @AleneTchek


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