Local News

Wednesday, May 07 2014 07:17 PM

Owner of Arvin faulty pipeline to do assessment of health risks

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Public relations specialist Larry Pickett spoke on behalf of PCR at the Arvin City Council meeting Tuesday about the company's pipeline that was found leaking in March, causing the evacuation of more than three dozen people from their homes. They are still displaced.

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BY RUTH BROWN Californian staff writer rbrown@bakersfield.com

The oil company owning the faulty Arvin gas line that leaked and caused the evacuation of eight homes will compile a human health risk assessment on the released toxins.

Petro Capital Resources LLC pipeline has left more than three dozen people displaced since March 18. The pipeline has since been shut down.

A company-hired toxicologist will perform the assessment, which will evaluate the effect of the released chemicals on people.

PCR has said that the chemicals released by the leaky pipe included methane and benzine, among several others. But a study by a environmental nonprofit agency found heptane and n-hexane along with more than a dozen other harmful chemicals.

PCR spokesman Larry Pickett told the Arvin City Council on Tuesday about the planned assessment.

He said Wednesday the company should have an idea of when the assessment will be completed and released "in the next few days." Results of the evaluation will be released to residents, county officials and the public.

The assessment is only on the evacuees' homes; houses on the opposite side of Nelson Court that were not evacuated will not be checked.

The assessment will include an evaluation of soil samples plus air samples taken both inside and outside the homes, Pickett said.

At Tuesday's council meeting, Arvin Mayor Jose Flores stressed PCR needed to be transparent with residents. He said that has not been the case.

"From information I gathered, (PCR representatives) have been keeping them in the dark and that is very, very unfair," Flores said.

Pickett responded at the meeting that if that was the case, then PCR needed to do a better job.

Throughout the more than six-week ordeal, PCR has taken several air and soil samples. However, none has been released by the company. Kern County Environmental Health Services also has taken samples and also hasn't released results.

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez said Tuesday she wants the county to release its results.

PCR is still paying for some evacuees to stay in the Golden Valley Luxury Apartments on Hosking Avenue in Bakersfield.

The company is paying for the evacuees' apartment rent and utilities, and some of the transportation costs for residents who must now commute from Bakersfield to Arvin for work or school, Pickett said.

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