Friday, May 11, 2018

USA, Hawaii: Puna Geothermal Venture May Have to Seal Wells

One fear alleviated, another looms at geothermal plant (Hawaii Tribune Herald)

The pentane at Puna Geothermal Venture has been removed, but Civil Defense officials remain concerned about another hidden hazard.

Talmadge Magno, county Civil Defense administrator, said state and county officials are talking with well experts in California about how to seal the power plant’s geothermal wells to prevent the release of hydrogen sulfide if well caps are compromised by the ongoing lower Puna volcanic eruption.

Jim Kauahikaua, a geophysicist with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said ground cracks have been observed at PGV since the eruption started.

Asked if hydrogen sulfide could be released from wells if the plant is inundated with lava, Mike Kaleikini, senior director of Hawaiian affairs for PGV, said, “That’s one scenario in our emergency response plan.” But he wouldn’t say if or how it could be contained. A hydrogen sulfide release would compound health hazards for residents potentially beyond the evacuation area, depending on wind direction.