News has recently traveled fast about an issue in San Fernando Valley being called "a disaster of BP oil spill proportions." If you haven't heard of the Porter Ranch gas leak, you either don't live in the area or are still waiting in line to see Star Wars. The leak was first noticed back in October and has since then steadily released about 1,300 metric tons of gas into the air per day. The source of the leak derives from a well pipe rupture 500 feet below the surface, which has proven difficult to successfully seal with the usual methods enacted in such situations.
Southern California Gas Company initially dismissed the incident as a minor disturbance, but in these past few months over 2,200 families have been evacuated from the nearby areas. Many have suffered from illness, such as nausea and vomiting, but the gas leak cannot be assuredly claimed as the source, though it seems odd not to. Natural gas is not seen as a toxic substance, but with such a large quantity streaming into the air, it's hard not to imagine some sort of effect on Valley residents.
SoCal Gas predicts the leak will be plugged by late February or possibly March. By that time, an amount of gas equivalent to that of six coal-fired power plants emitted over a 20 year plan. It is unclear what kind of effect this incident will have on the area over time, but residents are hopeful life will return to normal soon.
The LA Times has up-to-date coverage of the incident for any who want to track progress or catch up on what's been happening in our beloved Valley. For those in Porter Ranch and the surrounding areas, we stand in solidarity and wish you well all you may be dealing with. Some of you have lost your homes, but let us remember that this situation is temporary. Don't say goodbye just yet.