Pipeline break in Arvin causes concern for residents

Pipeline problems are causing frustration among some residents of the city of Arvin.
ARVIN, CA-- Pipeline problems are causing frustration among some residents of the city of Arvin. An underground pipeline that began emitting fumes last week is raising new concerns and this incident follows a water main break that cut off drinking water to Arvin residents for days earlier in March.

Officials from the Kern County Department of Public Health and fire department say the pipeline was petroleum based and not natural gas. But as a precaution they were asking some residents to evacuate voluntarily.

Workers drilled holes and took samples near Comanche Drive and Varsity Avenue in Arvin. Feliz Loya has been complaining of a smell.

"It smells like a combination of natural gas and butane," said Loya.

But firefighters say it is a pipeline carrying a petroleum based gas. It broke last week and county officials contacted Petro Capital Resources, who is believed to own the pipes, to fix it.

"Filled the pipeline with water so the hazard is very much reduced and crews right now are going door to door with environmental health and Arvin PD to really reassure residents,” said Sean Collins, Kern County Fire Department.”

Loya is worried about existing health risks to his wife.

"She has always used an inhaler but here lately she has been using it more and coughing at night,” Loya said.

Fire fighters and health officials were going door to door in the neighborhood asking the residents if they would like to leave voluntarily. Sabrina Garcia is frustrated at the prospect of leaving.

"Makes me sad because I don't want to leave from here," Garcia said.

In the meantime Kim Rodriguez from the Kern County Health Department said crews will continue the cleanup process.

"They are going to be drilling some wells and trying to suck this gas out of the ground and they are going to make it safe,” Rodriguez said.

Supervisor Leticia Perez issued a press release Monday stating Petro Capital Resources is the owner of the pipeline. However, officials 17 News contacted Monday evening at Petro said there is still a dispute over ownership of the pipeline. They said they will not comment on the break.
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