PORTER RANCH, LOS ANGELES (KABC) --A new move is underway to test the air inside people's homes just a week after the gas leak at the Aliso Canyon storage facility in Porter Ranch was capped.
Thousands of the families who left their homes were given eight days to return before the Southern California Gas Co. stopped footing their bill.
The deadline ends this week, but many families are still concerned about the methane, foul smell and chemicals that may be inside their homes.
During a hearing Wednesday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said it, along with several other local and state agencies, including the California Air Resources Board, will test the air in a sample of 100 to as many as 200 homes that had the worst complaints.
The air in those homes will only be tested for methane, and if the methane has diminished to low levels, officials believe that they can then assume there are no significant levels of toxins in terms of exposure.
"I think a lot of people have real experience with regard to cigarette smoke, but that's really particulate matter that is adhering to the fabric in a home and you know that could persist for some time. But I think with the gasses we're talking about we, we don't expect that to be an issue just because physically we don't see that occurring," said Angelo Bellomo, deputy county director for health protection.
In the meantime, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors unanimously authorized legal counsel to file a temporary restraining order if SoCal Gas refuses to extend its period of paying for those relocation expenses from eight days up to 30 days.
Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich says the 30-day period is needed to evaluate the air monitoring results and home testing, which hasn't even begun yet.
"An 8-day limit established by the city of Los Angeles and the Gas Company victimizes the victims once again," Antonovich said in a statement.
Testing is set to begin at the end of next week.
Under the agreement with SoCal Gas, some Porter Ranch families who signed longer-term leases are able to stay at the properties they rented until their contracts are up.