LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles County officials have declared a state of emergency over a leaking natural gas well above a neighborhood that has forced a utility company to relocate thousands of residents who have said the stench has made them sick.
The board of supervisors issued the emergency declaration Tuesday, which allows for state and federal assistance, The Los Angeles Daily News reported.
Southern California Gas Co. is working to address the leak above Porter Ranch, but it is not clear when the issue will be resolved, Supervisor Michael Antonovich said.
The company said it will take three to four months to drill a secondary well that will be used to stop the leak that was discovered Oct. 23.
Public health officials have said the leak is not a threat to public health, but hundreds of residents have complained of nausea, headaches, bloody noses and other maladies. The company and state officials say illnesses are caused by the foul-smelling additive that makes odorless natural gas detectable.
The company has paid to relocate 1,675 households in temporary accommodations and is working at moving another 1,200 households.
Meanwhile, the well continues to spew an estimated 1,200 tons of methane each day. Methane is a major greenhouse gas, and the well is contributing about a quarter of the state’s total output of methane.
The City Council also approved four emergency motions related to the leak, including one to support the supervisors’ action.