If you smell natural gas in Valencia over the next two weeks, SoCal Gas wants you to know it’s because of routine maintenance being done at its Honor Rancho Natural Gas facility on Newhall Ranch Road.
From now until at least March 21, the day after spring officially begins, the Southern California Gas Company is scheduled to perform scheduled maintenance on pipes at the site just west of Walmart on Copper Hill Drive in Valencia.
A Tweet posted Wednesday by the City of Santa Clarita reads: “Nearby residents may notice temporary odors or noise — these do not present a health or safety risk.”
“Sometimes with controlled maintenance, nearby residents might smell some temporary odors,” SoCal Gas spokeswoman Christine L. Detz told The Signal Thursday.
“In order to work on the pipes, it’s necessary to get rid of residual gas,” she said, adding it would be dangerous to work on pipes that were not “vented” of residual gas.
“The work does not present a health of safety risk to members of the community,” she said.
Detz also wants the public to know that work on the pipelines will be carried out during business hours March 14 to March 21 form 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
All work is scheduled to take place within the facility with no traffic impacted by the work, she added.
The work might get noisy for nearby residents, at least temporarily, she said.
And, although things might get smelly and although a notice of work sent out to the public, SoCalGas still encourages anyone who smells natural gas to always call immediately at 1-800-427-2200.
In March 2017, the utility began making safety changes at three of its natural gas storage facilities including the Honor Rancho site on Newhall Ranch Road, west of Walmart.
The changes – called safety enhancements and integrity assessments – were made in an effort by the company to comply with a state order issued in 2016, to avoid the type of hazardous incident that occurred at its Porter Ranch facility.
One of the changes calls for converting each of the wells in the SCV – and at wells in Playa Del Rey and Goleta – to a “tubing flow only” process whereby tubes are only used to flow gas through, as opposed to moving gas in and out of the tube.
And in a plea deal made with prosecutors, SoCal Gas agreed in September to install infrared methane leak monitors around its perimeter fence at the Aliso Canyon site at a cost of between $1.2 and $1.5 million.
Also included in the agreement, six full-time employees would be hired to operate and maintain the new leak detection systems 24 hours a day.
Total cost for these positions will run some $2.25 million for the next three years.
SoCal Gas must, according to the agreement, install “real time” gas pressure monitors at each gas well as required by the state. The settlement requires that an outside company be retained to test and certify that both systems are working properly.
For three days in late October 2015, SoCal Gas violated the state’s Health and Safety Code when it failed to report the release of “hazardous material” to the California Office of Emergency Services and to the local Certified Unified Program Agency, the court learned in September.
The gas leak, which began in October 2015 and was capped in February 2016, spewed massive amounts of gas into the atmosphere, prompting a state of emergency, widespread evacuations of the area and the filing of criminal charges against SoCal Gas.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt