Officials Say Gas Leak Causing Concern Among Locals Poses No Emergency Threat

Amid concerns from local environmental groups, authorities on Wednesday said a Jan. 11 gas leak from a 1930s-era well on the Marina del Rey waterfront was quickly contained and posed no emergency threat.

"The well currently is emitting no gas and there is no emergency impacting public safety," a statement from Los Angeles County said.

At around 4 p.m.  on Jan. 11, the state Department of Conservation received information about an old well on 4360 Via Marina that started spraying methane, mud and water during a routine plugging operation, officials said.

According to the news release, land developer MDR Hotels had leased the site from the county to build a six-story Residence Inn and a five-story Courtyard Marriott.

"When the incident was first reported, the information Los Angeles County Public Health received was that the leak was quickly contained and first responders reported from the scene that there was no continuing methane release," the statement read.

The well was initially abandoned and plugged in during the 1950s, authorities said.

State officials said they subsequently issued an emergency order to place safety precautions and require testing and 24-hour monitoring of the site aswell as a report detailing what led to the emission.

State and and county officials remained at the location Wednesday. They said in the "unlikely event" that gas odors are detected, the public should call 911.

Authorities urged civilians to steer clear of the area to avoid delays in monitoring and construction activities. They also asked motorists to drive with caution on Via Marina, which was partially closed between Marquesas Way and Tahiti Way.

The county provided the update after local groups expressed concern about the incident, comparing it to the 2015 Aliso Canyon gas blowout that led to the largest methane leak in U.S. history.

Robert Van De Hoek, a scientist who heads the Playa del Rey-based environmental group Ballona Institute, said he was worried about health risks affecting the high-density area.

“We’re asking for the accountability and transparency of our elected officials to shine light on the fact that this is a dangerous place for the hotel and that we’re really concerned about the health and safety of the public," he told KTLA on Tuesday night.

 

 

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