[Dept. of Public Health] – After nearly four months, state officials confirmed that a natural gas blowout in Aliso Canyon which allowed huge amounts of methane into the atmosphere has been permanently sealed.
The State’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources made the announcement early Thursday.
“Now that the well has been confirmed as sealed, we expect air sampling data to show that no emissions are coming from the well, and we anticipate the odors to cease,” said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, MD, MPH, Interim Health Officer for Los Angeles County. “For those residents who have relocated, we are encouraging them to return home as long as they are no longer experiencing symptoms. We will continue to monitor the Porter Ranch area, but based on our analysis of the air sampling data to date, it does not suggest long-term health risks associated with the chemical emissions released from this incident.”
Public Health will continue to analyze the data measurements for any unusual findings to ensure that the air quality results return to normal ranges. If at any time Public Health observes any discrepancies in the data or health impacts, the department will take any action necessary to protect public health.
Following the confirmation from DOGGR, the Los Angeles County Fire Department will continue to evaluate any potential hazardous emissions.
“I would like to thank our unified partners and our cooperating and assisting agencies for their leadership, teamwork, and dedication during this incident,” said Fire Chief Daryl Osby of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
The Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) will work with the Los Angeles City Emergency Management Department to establish a Local Assistance Center where residents can obtain information on city services, utilities, insurance and other resources. OEM will also continue to accept declarations from businesses impacted by the gas leak.
“With the leaking well successfully sealed, we will now focus our resources in support of the Porter Ranch recovery, so the community can return to normal as quickly as possible,” stated Jeff Reeb, Director of Los Angeles County Department of Office of Emergency Management. “We’d like to encourage businesses in the Porter Ranch area effected by the gas leak to apply for a low-interest federal loan if your business sustained economic loss. Local businesses are an important piece to any community and we want to ensure all parts of the Porter Ranch community continue to prosper moving forward.”
Sen. Fran Pavley,(D-Agoura Hills) said, “Today’s announcement that the Department of Conservation has verified the Aliso Canyon gas leak has been permanently sealed is news that residents of Porter Ranch and the entire Los Angeles region have been looking forward to for more than 100 days. While it is cause for relief, it does not lessen the critical importance of ensuring the safety of all 114 wells at the gas storage facility before any level of gas injections is allowed to resume.
“The more than 4,000 families at Porter Ranch who have been relocated to escape the noxious fumes deserve the highest possible level of assurance that the homes to which they will soon be returning are safe, and that normalcy can return to their community.
“The California Senate has acted to provide that high level of assurance by unanimously approving SB-380, an urgency bill that would put into law a moratorium on new injections and a ban on production from 1950s-era wells similar to the one that failed. Under the bill, the moratorium would remain in place until a comprehensive review of the safety of all 114 wells is conducted and three state agencies, in consultation with independent experts and the public, affirm that operations can resume without posing undue risk to the public.
“SB-380 will be heard by the Assembly Utilities & Commerce Committee on Monday, and it is my hope that my colleagues in the Assembly will follow the Senate’s lead and act promptly to give residents full confidence that they can move forward with peace of mind.”
For more information on the County’s efforts, please visit the https://www.lacounty.gov/alisocanyon.