A leak sending water seeping into downtown Upland natural gas lines over the weekend prompted prolonged natural gas shutoffs by SoCalGas for a few businesses and dozens of residents in the surrounding area, according to the gas company.
But as crews have worked around the clock in the 200 block of East A Street since Saturday morning, July 30, the source of the water leak has remained elusive, according to Adam Eventov, spokesman for SoCalGas.
“It’s a safe situation, but it’s a massive inconvenience for residents,” Eventov said.
Water getting into natural gas lines causes them to clog, essentially rendering them unusable, Eventov said. Crews have moved block-by-block to the north, making their way from 7th Street to 9th Street in order to eliminate possibilities, Eventov said.
A timetable for a resolution to the issue was not available as of Wednesday afternoon, Eventov said.
At the situation’s peak, as many as 120 customers were without natural gas, said Stephen Parker, Upland assistant city manager. The impacted customers have had access to other utilities such as electricity and water, aside from some brief intermittent water shutoffs, Parker said.
“I’m so thankful that it hasn’t risen to a health and safety issue,” Parker said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, natural gas storage had been restored to 67 customers, Parker said.
The city has partnered with the nonprofit Upland Community Resource Center in the event services are requested by impacted residents, according to Parker.
Meal packages prepared by the Family Service Association will be provided for those in need at the Gibson Senior Center, 250 North 3rd Ave., on Thursday, Aug. 4, from 1 to 6 p.m., according to Parker. The packages include four frozen microwaveable dinners per person and no pre-registration is required, Parker said.
A hot shower can be arranged at various locations through the Upland Community Resource Center, Parker said. No requests for these services had been made as of Wednesday, he said.
The city planned to hang door tags with all available service information on them at the affected residencies later in the day Wednesday, Parker said.
The Cheesecake Café at 220 East A St. and Eden Garden Fusion Grill 392 East A St. were using portable natural gas pods provided by SoCalGas on Wednesday, according to the city. The affected area spanned “scattered blocks” in the downtown area near East A Street, Eventov said.
“It’s a slow and systematic process,” Eventov said.
The water leak must be stopped before permanent repairs and natural gas restorations can be made, according to the gas company. A smell of natural gas could be observed in the downtown area, but this was a result of water being purged from the gas lines and did not pose a threat to public health or safety, SoCalGas said.
For more information, the City of Upland can be reached at 909-931-4280.