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Small Pipe Leak Found at SoCalGas NatGas Storage Facility

Sempra Energy's Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) said a small natural gas leak was discovered and plugged in an above-ground pipeline at the still-closed Aliso Canyon underground gas storage facility along the northern fringe of Los Angeles.

Since the four-month-long storage well leak that was sealed in mid-February at the 3,600-acre storage facility (see Daily GPIFeb. 18), SoCalGas has reported several minor leaks in recent months as Aliso's 114 storage wells go through a six-part battery of tests (see Daily GPIMarch 29).

The leak was discovered in a pipe used to withdraw gas from the storage reservoir, and it was quickly isolated and stopped, according to a SoCalGas spokesperson, who minimized the possibility that nearby residents would be affected, although some residents are still complaining about symptoms from the storage well leak months after it was stopped. Community activists and environmental groups have continued to call for closing the 86 Bcf capacity facility (see Daily GPIAug. 29May 16).

While the cause of this latest pipe leak has not been determined, the SoCalGas spokesperson said the utility has determined the leak began only a short time before its discovery, so the utility estimate is the releases of methane have been small.

"We do not anticipate that the released gas will be noticeable in the surrounding community," the spokesperson said. "At no point was there a threat to public safety."

In July a similar small pipeline leak was found at Aliso Canyon and repaired (see Daily GPIJuly 7), and it restimulated opponents to call for the permanent closure of the troubled facility.

"Residents are renewing calls to Gov. Jerry Brown to decommission the storage facility and shut it down permanently," said Alexandra Nagy, a spokesperson for Food & Water Watch, which joined residents from nearby Porter Ranch in a protest at the storage field's public entrance after the leak was discovered.

Monday's leak was discovered at 4:50 p.m. CDT, and the SoCalGas spokesperson said the utility notified relevant state agencies as it took steps to make permanent repairs of the pipe.

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