SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - When homeowners on Flora Vista Drive planted fruit trees, some of them mysteriously died. Then during a remodeling project they struck an abandoned well seeping methane into their yard.
The homeowners, who wish to remain anonymous, didn't know the well, built by the Gaviota Oil Company of Delaware Limited, existed when they moved in five years ago. When neighbors gave them a 1920's photo of the Mesa Oil Field they liked it so much they had it blown up and framed to hang on their wall.
They are staying away from their home during the day while the noisy work to cap the well takes place. Workers hired by the California's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources will plug the well with a steel plate five feet underground in their yard.
Division leaders said it does not pose a health risk. But the project slated to take just two weeks is in its sixth week.
The home is just down the street from Monroe Elementary School.
Parents dropping off and picking up their kids are being detoured. Monroe's principal said she has been keeping parents posted on the progress.
The homeowners will have to disclose the well if they ever sell their home.
They don't have to pay for all of the repairs. An oil industry fund created to plug hazardous wells will pick up much of the tab.