Mobile Home Park Residents Concerned by Methane in Well Water

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Residents of a Yuba County mobile home park say they are still fearful of the dangers of methane gas found in their drinking water, despite health official assurances that it’s safe.

The Castlewood Mobile Home park has had ongoing issues with methane in well water. The non-toxic gas is commonly found in groundwater, but large amounts can be dangerous. In January of 2008, a mobile home in the park was destroyed after the occupant flushed a toilet – apparently releasing methane in a confined area.

He had also lit a candle in the bathroom. He escaped injury but the mobile home was destroyed.

Inspections of several mobile homes by health officers found that the methane dispersed readily, and bubbles in the faucet water were not an issue after a few seconds.

“I make ice out of it, my kid makes Kool Aid out of it, I make my coffee out of it,” park manager Kyren Shimmen said.

But others say they have been able to ignite the gas by trapping it in drinking water glasses after it is dispensed from the faucet. A match produces a blue flame for a fraction of second.

And other residents say the water is casing sores and rashes, as well as headaches and nausea. Health officials say the water is safe but did offer precautions like keeping rooms ventilated.The methane levels were detected after a filtration system that was installed after the explosion broke down.

Management says parts are on order and that the problem will go away once a pump is repaired. But residents say they’ve waited over six weeks for repairs.

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