Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun

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April 28, 2011
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Placer County: Serene Lakes propane leaks near containment

SODA SPRINGS, Calif. — Officials estimate the propane leak situation in the Serene Lakes neighborhood west of Truckee will soon be almost completely mitigated, Placer County officials confirmed this week.

According to a Wednesday press release, 22 of 36 properties in Serene Lakes have been declared safe by emergency officials; the rest should be safe by the weekend.

The state of the remaining properties are in various stages of remediation, officials said, and will be deleted from the county’s list of managed properties as soon as they are in full compliance with required clean-up steps.

The announcement comes after an April 11 county board of supervisors meeting where trustees authorized a Proclamation of Local Emergency for the area, after an outbreak of propane leaks earlier in the month reportedly caused by the extraordinary snowfall this winter breaking pipes and tanks buried under dozens of feet of snow.

While it hasn’t been confirmed, county officials believe leaking propane caused an April 8 explosion that demolished an unoccupied three-story cabin in Serene Lakes, sending debris flying hundreds of feet.

According to this week’s update, 12 of the 14 remaining leaks are expected to be declared safe at the end of Saturday by the Incident Command Team, consisting of Truckee Fire Protection District, Placer County Environmental Health, Placer County Office of Emergency Services and Placer County Sheriff’s Office.

However, the county said new properties could be added to the list if additional leaks are reported or discovered.

According to the press release, the county is having difficulty contacting homeowners — many of them second homeowners — in the area to coordinate clean-up efforts.

“If they (homeowners) don’t do so in a timely manner, the county will be forced to hire a contractor to clean the properties for them,” officials said, referring to an earlier mandate that all property owners clean up and fix their respective properties — or pay county costs for clean-up.

The county is asking propane vendors not to fill any tank that has not had snow removed from its valves, regulators and piping, as these tanks remain susceptible to failure from the weight and glacial movement of the snow.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Apr 28, 2011 04:08PM Published Apr 28, 2011 04:06PM Copyright 2011 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.