Latest: CA Toxic Cleanup Efforts

SACRAMENTO, CA – California state and local politicians are pressing for swifter action of toxic cleanup efforts surrounding a shuttered battery recycling plant in Vernon.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis said Tuesday during a news conference at the Capitol that she pledged to go after Exide Technologies, which operated the plant for decades.

The state’s Department of Toxic Substances Control is overseeing the cleanup of lead-contaminated soil, but incoming Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) said the department “has not done a good job” and promised he’d push officials to act more urgently.

A poster at the news conference laid out a $70-million proposal for next year’s budget that would be used to assess the contamination and clean up the most affected homes.

California has received around $9 million from Exide for residential cleanup. Last year, the state also dedicated about $7 million to test and clean up homes, and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreed to spend $2 million to accelerate those efforts.

112715 On Site Aliso Canyon Storage Facility Natural Gas Leak; Photographer: Kiim Rice-Bogdan © 2015 Southern California Gas Company. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.

Meantime, SoCalGas has announced continued progress on Relief Well 1 and Relief Well 2. Once the drill bit reaches the target well, the crew will transition from drilling operations to pumping heavy fluids and drilling mud into the target well to stop the flow of gas.

The pad for Relief Well 2 is completed and equipment is being mobilized to that site.

Updated emissions estimates: The California Air Resources Board estimates that the emissions from the leak have declined by nearly 70% since November.  As of January 26, 2016:

  • Data collected during the ARB flyover on Jan. 21 indicates that methane emissions rate has decreased by roughly 68% from November 28, from 58,000kg methane/hour to 19,600kg methane/hour.
  • The ARB‐estimated cumulative Aliso leak total is 2.1MMCO2e, or less than one percent of annual California GHG emissions.

SoCalGas continues to monitor the air in the community twice daily and has added six 12‐hour samples to the monitoring program at the facility perimeter closest to the community as well as at three other locations within the facility.