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Methane still leaking at Hawthorne well; 37 families remain evacuated

September 16, 2013|By Angel Jennings

A well in Hawthorne continues to spew methane even after crews were able to stop the flow of water, authorities said.

Monday morning, a well-capping company blasted 208 barrels of high-pressured water into the well spout to try to stop the flow of water and methane. 

They felt they had it under control, but it began leaking methane again, authorities said. 

Officials briefly shut down a two-mile stretch of the 105 Freeway, between Crenshaw Boulevard and the 405 Freeway, for the project. A small part of Imperial Highway, between Inglewood and Firmona avenues, remained closed, said California Highway Patrol Officer Francisco Villalobos.

Crews with Golden State Water Co. last Thursday were trying to plug the retired well when they discovered an unexpected flow of water. Tests revealed that methane gas had mixed with the well water. 

"This situation and repairs have no effect on the local water supply, which continues to meet all drinking water quality standards," Patrick Scanlon, vice president of Golden State Water Co., said Monday in a statement.

Thirty-seven families in the immediate vicinity were evacuated as a precaution, Jordan said, and have been staying in a hotel since Thursday.

Golden State Water Co. hired the well-known capping company Boots & Coots International Well Control to control the mixture of high-pressure water and methane gas.

Boots & Coots "will fabricate a metal structure to secure the well valve that is under high pressure," Jordan said in a prepared statement. "After the valve is secure, forward progress will continue."

Methane gas can be deadly if inhaled in a confined space, officials said, and can cause a massive explosion if ignited.

Officials are unsure what caused the leak or how long residents will be displaced.

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Twitter: @LATAngel

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