SoCalGas Enhances Support for Residents Impacted by Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Leak


Porter Ranch gas leak.pngSouthern California Gas today announced a series of new measures designed to better assist communities that have been impacted by the natural gas leak at its Aliso Canyon Storage facility.

Effective Jan. 2, 2016, SoCalGas has eliminated the requirement for eligible temporarily relocated residents to submit receipts for reimbursement of food-related expenses. In addition, the company has increased and simplified the daily meal reimbursement amount to $45 per day per person, regardless of age. For more details, visit AlisoUpdates.com.

The relocation package provided by SoCalGas consists of the following:

  • Monthly housing allowance;
  • For those staying in hotels without a full kitchen, daily payment for meals in the amount of $45per day per person, regardless of age; and
  • Mileage reimbursement at the IRS-approved rate for extra mileage incurred in commuting to work or transporting children to school.

SoCalGas is evaluating a variety of ways to streamline its reimbursement process, including a pre-paid spending card, and expects to announce further details within the next seven days.

The damaged well began leaking Oct. 23. The gas company estimates that crews won’t plug the leak at the Aliso Canyon Underground Storage Facility until at least late February or possibly March.

Meantime, attorneys for residents suing Southern California Gas Co. said the company failed to replace the safety valve when it was removed in 1979.

Engineers speculate that the leak is coming from a hole in a 7-inch diameter pipe about 500 feet below the surface. In a statement, the attorneys stated that the safety valve may not have prevented the leak, but it would have stopped the continued release of fumes pouring into the community.

SoCal Gas spokeswoman Melissa Bailey confirmed that the well did not have “a deep subsurface valve.” She said such a valve was not required by law.

For residents remaining in Porter Ranch, SoCalGas is also providing free plug-in air purifiers that contain activated carbon, which is effective at removing the natural gas odorant from residents’ homes.

SoCal Gas said that it is committed to stopping the gas leak as quickly as possible. They are working to establish a secondary relief well as backup to our ongoing drilling of the primary relief well. Grading of the drilling pad for the secondary well should be complete in early January. At that point a drilling rig will be moved in and set up.

Drilling of the second relief well is slated to begin in late January and should take about three to four months. The secondary relief well drilling will operate independently from the primary relief well.

SoCalGas Project Manager, Kristine Lloyd told SUN News that one of the possible methods of recovering the escaped gas is to use nearby wells. “We are actively trying to locate the gas in the surrounding geologic formation and collect it in this way.”

Lloyd also told us, “safety is our first priority in any gas leak situation and SoCalGas has taken appropriate steps throughout to maintain and protect the safety of the community, employees and our contractors.”