SoCalGas Estimates Three to Four Months to Plug Porter Ranch Gas Well Blowout

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Yesterday, SoCalGas released a statement updating the public on its efforts to plug the Porter Ranch gas well blowout. The company now estimates it will take at least three to four months to contain the current health and environmental crisis. The incident began on October 23, 2015 when SoCalGas workers, at their Aliso Canyon natural gas facility, discovered a massive methane blowout.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “the blowout has released the equivalent of 0.80 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the air board estimates, about the same amount of emissions as driving 160,000 cars for a year or consuming 90 million gallons of gas.” Since its discovery, the blowout has caused widespread health issues in the local community of Porter Ranch, with residents experiencing nausea, dizziness, vomiting, nosebleeds, and headaches. Now, Porter Ranch is under a voluntary evacuation order with over 850 homes evacuated so far; many residents, however, have chosen to remain in their homes.

From SoCalGas:

Update on Activities: December 8

• Efforts have continued on drilling a relief well in order to stop the flow of gas leaking from an adjacent well. This relief well is being drilled to intercept the leaking well at more than 8,000 feet below ground. The drilling process is operating 24/7, and should take three to four months to complete. Once the relief well is connected to the leaking well, SoCalGas will pump fluids and cement into the bottom of the leaking well, and stop the flow of gas and permanently seal the well.

• In addition, the company has also redoubled its efforts to slow the leak and reduce odors while the relief well project is underway. These include a newly completed effort to reconnect the well to a withdrawal pipe in an effort to capture escaping gas.

• Suppliers and contractors are being brought in to support in-home air filtration and air purification, as well as weatherization to further reduce residents’ exposure to the odor.

• In support of the local community, we are opening a Community Resource Center to provide in person information on relocation, claims and answer questions.

• We continue welcoming our neighbors at our public information booth, which we staff as weather permits. In the event of inclement weather, please remember, neighbors can check updates on this website, email us atAlisoCanyon@SoCalGas.com or call us at 818-435-7707. The booth is located near the gates of our facility at 12801 Tampa Avenue in Porter Ranch, and its hours (weather permitting) are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• SoCalGas will continue to monitor the well pressures 24/7 to ensure conditions remain safe.

• A team of our environmental specialists and retained experts will continue conducting daily air sampling and monitoring at several representative sites both within the leak site and the community. Although experts agree that natural gas is not toxic and that the levels of the odorant in the natural gas are too low to be a long-term health concern, we are continuing to conduct this sampling to provide the community with more information. The samples we are taking are in addition to those being taken by South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). Air sampling results from our tests are available at www.alisoupdates.com.