Motherboard takes a look at the ongoing leak from a deep well in Southern California, and the engineering challenges that mean it won't be stopped for a while. From Motherboard's report: An enormous amount of harmful methane gas is currently erupting from an energy facility in Aliso Canyon, California, at a startling rate of 110,000 pounds per hour. The gas, which carries with it the stench of rotting eggs, has led to the evacuation 1,700 homes so far. Many residents have already filed lawsuits against the company that owns the facility, the Southern California Gas Company. ... Part of the problem in stopping the leak lies in the base of the well, which sits 8,000 feet underground. Pumping fluids down into the will, usually the normal recourse, just isn't working, said [copmany spokesperson Anne] Silva. Workers have been "unable to establish a stable enough column of fluid to keep the force of gas coming up from the reservoir." The company is now constructing a relief well that will connect to the leaking well, and hopefully provide a way to reduce pressure so the leak can be plugged. As the article notes, methane is an especially noxious gas in a figurative as well as literal sense; while it spends less time in the atmosphere than does CO2, it is more effective at trapping heat.
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