AQMD, Gas Co. Agree on Plan to Burn Off Natural Gas Near Porter Ranch

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SoCal Gas Co.’s Aliso Canyon storage facility is shown on Nov. 23, 2015. (Credit: KTLA)

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Air quality regulators and Southern California Gas Co. have agreed on a plan to capture and incinerate at least some of the natural gas from a leaking well that has sickened and displaced thousands of residents of Porter Ranch, according to a legal document filed this week.

Under the plan, the gas company would as soon as next week deploy pollution control equipment to burn off both methane, the main ingredient in natural gas, and foul-smelling odorants that are added to the gas for leak detection.

The steps are part of an administrative order that the South Coast Air Quality Management District is seeking to reduce emissions and odors from the company’s Aliso Canyon underground storage facility, where a damaged well since October has been spewing more than 1,000 tons of methane a day into the air.

While emissions from the leak do not pose a long-term health risk, health officials say, the sulfur-like additives are likely causing the headaches, nausea, nosebleeds and other symptoms that residents are reporting.

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