The Playa Vista “Buyer Beware” Education Program

Ballona Wetlands Land Trust

The Playa Vista
“Buyer Beware” Education Program

(A Volunteer Opportunity)

The effort to save the Ballona Wetlands Ecosystem was began by humans in an effort to save the lives of the birds, fish and other animals that live there.  However, as more and more reasons have been discovered regarding why the Ballona Ecosystem should be preserved, many reasons why people themselves should not live there have also been discovered. It has been discovered that Ballona Valley is seeping explosive methane gases, poisonous hydrogen sulfide gases, and cancer causing benzene and toluene, that, once built over with roads and buildings, becomes a substantial safety risk.  It has been discovered that the land under the proposed Playa Vista project is a high-risk earthquake liquefaction zone. And we have discovered that Southern California Gas Company stores 7 Billion cubic feet of natural gas adjacent to the area. So the effort to save wildlife and open space may also result in the saving of HUMAN life as well.

Buyer Beware Education Program Logistics

The Playa Vista “Buyer Beware” Education Program is being conducted in front of the Playa Vista Visitor Center which is now open to the public. The program consists of displaying signs and passing out flyers to those visiting the Visitor Center, disclosing to them the dangers of living or working in buildings built over these dangers.  The photos above and to the right show this program in operation when the Visitor Center opened to the public at 10:00 AM on Saturday, July 28. 

This program is not intended to be a rally.  Instead, this is an education program intended to ensure potential buyers' and renters' awareness of the substantial risks to their health and safety before committing themselves to living or working there.  Therefore, we need only 12 people per shift.

When:       1:00 PM to 3:00 PM every Saturday.

Where:    At the entrance to the Playa Vista Visitor Center on Jefferson Boulevard, one block east of Lincoln Boulevard.

Dress:      Dress as you would if you were a visitor to the Visitor Center, plus sunscreen and/or hat. (The signs and water will be provided.)

Meet:      Meet on the sidewalk at the corner of Jefferson and Alla by the southwest corner of the Home Depot parking lot at 12:45 PM.  Your sign will be delivered to you there. We will then walk together 1 block to the entrance to the Visitor Center. Please car pool to the meeting point if possible.

Sign-up:  Call the Land Trust Office at (310) 338-1413 to sign-up for your particular shift.  You may also email us at to sign up, but be sure to include a telephone number in your email so that we may confirm your shift with you by phone.

All of the information contained in our signs must, by law, be disclosed by Playa Vista to buyers before any actual purchase deal is concluded.  Developers and sellers typically wait until the last minute to disclose such negative information and may do so only in the fine print of the many papers they rush the buyer to sign just before handing over the keys. Our sign displays just make these disclosures early enough for potential buyers to consider the dangers before committing themselves to living or working there. 

The Buyer Beware Education Program is one of those few opportunities for Members to become personally involved on a regular and scheduled basis. So please call or email today.

Background Information

 Wetlands are indeed very unique places.  As one of the most biologically productive places on earth, they often generate oil fields beneath them as one season’s biomass dies and submerges making way for the next.  As the decomposing biomass pushes deeper into the earth, oil fields are formed. At one time there were 200 active oil wells in the Ballona Valley. 

The generation of oil also results in the generation of explosive Methane and poisonous Hydrogen Sulfide gases along with many cancer causing agents such as benzene and toluene. These gases and substances are seeping out of the ground all over the Ballona Valley according to geologic experts, Exploration Technologies.  While not dangerous if allowed to escape into the atmosphere, their concentrations can build to dangerous levels if trapped under roads, and in or under building. 

 If the thought of living over an old oil field isn't enough to turn potential Playa Vista buyers away, then consider this.  Southern California Gas Company stores 7,000,000,000 (7 Billion) Cubic Feet of Natural Gas under the Ballona Valley in the areas left vacant when the oil was pumped out. This is enough natural gas to file Dodger Stadium 250 times.  There are about 300 of these underground natural gas storage facilities in the U.S. but none under a highly populated area.  Each year there are “accidents” or explosions at one or more of these facilities.  Imagine the injury and/or death toll if there were to be an “accident” at this Ballona facility and if Playa Vista is built and 30,000 people live there.  Imagine the liability that would befall LA taxpayers when injured Playa Vista residents and tenants sue the City for helping fund this development. 

 And in addition to all of the above dangers, the U.S. Geologic Survey has found that much of the area is a high-risk liquefaction area that could result in buildings tilting and/or sinking into the ground during an earthquake.  It is well known that the Hughes Aircraft Company experienced such problems when it operated in the Ballona Valley.

As a result of the diligent efforts by Citizens United to Save All of Ballona organizations in researching and exposing these problems, the City of Los Angeles has mandated that homes or commercial buildings built on the Ballona Wetlands must have:

  • Elaborate hazardous-gas protection systems under the buildings. (Many experts question the effectiveness and reliability of   such systems.  They have never been used in a project such is this.)
  • Gas detection and alarm systems in homes and offices, for which residents and tenants must pay annual maintenance fees.
  • Fire detection systems connected directly to the Fire Department. (The thinking must be that if gas fires do start, they will be too intense and widespread for residents to reach and activate fire alarms manually.

Wouldn't you want to know the risks associated with buying and living in a home where these types of danger detection systems are required?  

 So call the Land Trust office now at (310) 338-1413 to schedule you time to participate in this worth public service program.

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