Video: Aerial Footage Shows How Massive The Porter Ranch Gas Leak Is
A new aerial video gives us a good visualization of just how massive that gas leak in the Valley is.
Because methane is invisible, infrared cameras must be used to show the billowing gas. A previous video showed it eerily flowing over the hillsides near Southern California Gas' Aliso Canyon facility, but this aerial footage shot by the nonprofit environmental advocacy group Environmental Defense Fund shows how truly enormous the geyser of gas is from the leaking well. An estimated 50,000 kilograms of methane per hour is being emitted.
The has been making residents in nearby Porter Ranch sick. The whole mess has been declared a local emergency by the county, with residents relocated and schools closed. SoCalGas tells the L.A. Times they've narrowed down the location of the leak in the 8,700-foot well, but added that it might take until the end of March to fully repair it.
Normally fluids would be pumped into the well to plug the leak, but SoCalGas' efforts at that have be unsuccessful. Anne Silva, a spokeswoman for SoCalGas, told VICE's Motherboard that their crews have been "unable to establish a stable enough column of fluid to keep the force of gas coming up from the reservoir" and are now drilling a relief well to relieve the pressure inside the well to make repairs. The Daily Breeze reports that the Public Utilities Commission thinks the culprit is "crumbled or cracked concrete in a well hundreds of feet underground."
Aside from the impact on Porter Ranch residents, the leak is also a massive environmental disaster. Methane is more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, and the Porter Ranch leak has accounted for about a quarter of the state's methane emissions. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, the daily leakage is equivalent to driving 7 million cars a day.