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PRNC Investigates Gas Company Leak
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Three members of the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council Executive Committee and other government officials took a tour at the Gas Company Wednesday, November 18 and were briefed by Gillian Wright, Vice President, Customer Services and Public Information Officer for this incident and other Gas Company staff on their plans to stop the leak and kill the well. Wright emphasized that stopping the leak is their top priority. The visit included a look at a similar well to see the standard safety elements engineered into the well, but did not include a visit to the actual leaking well so as not to impede the work being done there.

The leak was originally detected October 23. After standard procedures to stop the well were determined ineffective on the 24th, well experts were on scene and conducting diagnostics October 25-30. October 31 through November 6 was spent with a coiled tubing rig to break through the ice in the well that was blocking access to the leak. Removal of the ice plug did not change the amount of gas leaking. November 7-11 involved more diagnostic tests and preparations to stop the leak.



The plan to stop the leak involves sending a heavy brine solution down the center of the well using the 2 7/8 inch diameter tubing. The brine must go all the way to the bottom, 8,500 feet where the tubing communicates with the 7 inch diameter well casing, and come up to the level of the leak in the casing, which is about 500 feet from the surface. The concept is that with enough pressure, the brine will exceed the gas pressure and cut off the flow of gas to the point of the leak. While pumping the brine on Friday, November 13, the high pressure caused the brine not only to go down, but to come back to the surface, sending a spray that the Gas Company initially was concerned might contain oil, leading them to alert the community to stay inside. Upon further investigation, it was determined that there was no oil in the spray, just brine, mud and dirt. The spray did not leave the immediate well area and liquid was collected and contained.

Once the process to stop the leak with a brine solution is effective, then a heavier slurry will be used to seal the well at the bottom, the well will be taken out of service. All the surrounding wells have also been closed, so as to not adversely affect this operation.

PRNC President Paula Cracium further inquired about the air monitoring being conducted. Monitoring is being conducted twice a day and locations have been added above the Renaissance community as was requested during the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council meetings. The monitoring is done in the early morning 3-9am and in the evening 5-9pm. Air collection may take up to 20 minutes per monitoring location. Monitoring and testing is being done by a third party company and the data is posted within two days. Methane is lighter than air and rises when coming in contact with air. However, mercaptan doesn’t rise and can concentrate in pockets. Air sample results can be viewed here: https://www.socalgas.com/newsroom/aliso-canyon-updates/air-sample-results

No timeline was given as to when the leak would be stopped. However, the Daily News reported that the California Department of Conservations Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) issued an emergency order that the Gas Company “provide continuous access to real-time electric monitoring of wellhead pressures, diagnostic tests and well logs” and more by 5pm Thursday, November 19 and a timeline by November 20.



The Gas Company reports that they are working on a plan to construct a relief well if the current plan is unsuccessful. The relief well would connect to the leaking well allowing for pumping of fluid to seal the bottom of the leaking well. Constructing the relief well is complex, “It involves steering a tool to find a seven-inch pipe, more than a thousand feet away, thousands of feet below ground.  Efforts like this have been known to take several months to complete. They would have to grade the area, set up the drilling rig, and finalize the well path. The Gas Company indicates that they would not be able to report on when this process would be complete until they have a good sense of the initial progress. They have applied to DOGGR for the drilling permit. The PRNC certainly hopes that a relief well will not be necessary.

Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council President Paula Cracium wants Porter Ranch stakeholders to know, "In spite of our limited position as an advisory board, we have taken an active role to bring in the right people to address stakeholder concerns, provide our stakeholders regular updates, and open doors to the resources residents can contact with their concerns. We are all struggling to deal with the impacts of this leak and to understand why it is taking so long. We pressed to have the County Health Department and DOGGR at our last PRNC meeting so that they could hear community issues and concerns first hand and I believe it made a difference. We have seen them recently amp up their involvement. Although we are not in a position to fix the problem, we will continue to give voice to the challenges the community has and is enduring every day here in Porter Ranch."

County Supervisor Antonovich’s San Fernando Valley Deputy Jerrod DeGonia reported that the number of calls to elected officials regarding health concerns has gone up in the last several days as the public has grown increasingly frustrated with the leak. The City of Los Angeles has assigned an Emergency Management Coordinator, chris.ipsen [at] lacity.org (Hans Ipsen), to handle gas health concerns resulting from the gas leak. The City is particularly concerned with investigating health concerns of at risk individuals, such as the pregnant, elderly, or infants. Claims can be filed with the Gas Company here: https://www.socalgas.com/about-us/claims

County Health Directive

Thursday, November 19, at the direction of Supervisor Antonovich, a Directive and Environmental Assessment was recently sent from the County Public Health Department to the Gas Company and subsequently released to the media relating to the Aliso Canyon gas leak this afternoon.  Three key points are as such:

  1. Gas Company is to remediate the leak as soon as possible.
  2. There is no long term health hazards associated with the leak or threat to human health.  However there are short term affects associated with the odor.
  3. Therefore, the Gas Company is to relocate individuals away from the community that request to be relocated.

Gas Company relocation: (818) 435-7707
Residents may contact the Gas Company about the process to be relocated.  In addition, the phone numbers are below for reference.

The Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council will continue to keep the community updated on news about the leak as it becomes available.

View Resource List

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The Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council is an organization that is officially certified by the City of Los Angeles to increase our influence with City lawmakers and departments to improve our community.

The PRNC came about as a result of Los Angeles City Charter Reform and interested stakeholders in our community. The Board is elected by stakeholders and holds monthly meetings, usually on the first Wednesday of the month. The agenda is emailed to those who subscribe (see the green box in the upper corner), on our website here and posted at 11280 Corbin Avenue, Northridge, CA 91326 on a bulletin board facing Corbin street.

The Board is comprised of volunteers who want to help you make Porter Ranch a better place to live, work and grow. We can't do it for you, but we can do it with you.

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