Snowpack Causing Propane Leaks In Donner Summit Community

Placer County wants homeowners and residents in the Serene Lakes area near Donner Summit to be advised that there are currently five propane leaks at residences in the mountain development. With the extraordinary snowpack this year, there are many propane tanks buried under dozens of feet of snow. The weight of the snow can damage pipes, valves, regulators and tanks, which can lead to leaks. There are street closures in effect and other residences cannot be entered until the situation is remedied.

Gaining access to buried propane tanks has proven to be a challenge with known propane leaks in the area. Conventional methods of removing snow such as snow blowers, front loaders and snow plows can be problematic. Because propane is heavier than air, it tends to sink and collect at ground level. When it cools, it becomes liquid and can pool and flow downhill. With the warm weather this week, snow has started melting and the propane can turn from liquid to gas.

Anyone who smells propane or natural gas inside or outside a building should call 911. They also should avoid smoking, starting engines or motors, turning on cooking appliances, using heating-air conditioning systems or using other ignition sources if they smell propane or natural gas. They should also avoid any activity that can create a spark and might ignite propane.

Safety tips for the proper care of propane tanks during severe weather are on the county website Please click on the following link: Propane Tank Safety.

See map below for locations of leaks.