Porter Ranch Methane Leak


The Aliso Canyon gas leak (also called Porter Ranch gas leak) is a massive, uncontrolled, ongoing leak from a natural gas well connected to the Aliso Canyon underground storage facility near Porter Ranch, Los Angeles, California since October 23, 2015.The leak has since spewed more than 5 billion cubic feet of natural gas. Since then, the leak has forced more than 6,000 residents to evacuate the area northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Many residents of the Porter Ranch community complained of headaches, nosebleeds and other symptoms. The leak is expected to cost Southern California Gas Co, a division of Sempra Energy, at least $250m, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. At its peak, the leak was estimated to contribute about a quarter of the state’s climate-altering methane emissions, leading some to call it the worst environmental disaster since the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

A blowout at a natural gas well that gushed uncontrollably for 16 weeks and drove thousands of residents from their Los Angeles homes was plugged on Thursday, 11 February 2016. While the well still needs to be permanently sealed with cement and inspected by state regulators, the announcement marked the first time the leak has been under control since it was reported 23 October.
In response to a petition from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the agency’s independent Hearing Board today ordered SoCalGas to take immediate action to minimize odors and air pollution from a massive gas leak near Porter Ranch. Once the leak is stopped, the order requires that SoCalGas permanently shut down the well causing the leak. It also requires enhanced air quality monitoring in the nearby community and completion of a health study on the potential health effects of well emissions on residents in the Porter Ranch area. And it requires a comprehensive leak detection program for all other wells in the Aliso Canyon facility to help prevent future leaks.

Methane is not considered toxic, but it is flammable in very high concentrations.

Measurements conducted by SCAQMD staff and other agencies in the Porter Ranch community show that methane levels are far below the concentrations where flammability could be a concern.  

The levels of odorants in the Porter Ranch community are generally low. However, even such low levels of odorants can be smelled in air and can cause some physiological symptoms, consistent with many of the symptoms reported by community members living near the leaking well, such as headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Other symptoms, such as cough and e
ye irritation have also been associated with these odorants. Health experts do not expect any long term effects from these odorants, although there is limited scientific information available. 


Learn more at http://methaneeducation.weebly.com

References
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/11/socalgas-fixes-natural-gas-methane-leak-los-angeles-porter-ranch
http://www.aqmd.gov/home/regulations/compliance/aliso-canyon-update


 

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