(BIVN) – As active lava begins to encroach on the Puna Geothermal Venture property, officials are working to finish quenching, and hopefully plugging, wells on the site.
Fissure 22 is erupting a short line of low lava fountains that feed a channelized flow that reaches the coast just north of MacKenzie State Park, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported today. Some of that lava is starting to intrude on the southern edge of the Puna Geothermal Venture site. As of early Monday evening, the advance of that lava towards the facility was halted by an apparent berm.
Tom Travis, the administrator of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, told reporters outside the Hawaii County Emergency Operations Center in Hilo today that a team has thus far “quenched” 10 of 11 wells, filing them with cold water. The wells have already been “shut in” since the time the eruption event started.
Travis said they are pumping fluid to plug the last well and they should know if the effort succeeded by tonight.
“Its important to get what we can done now,” Travis said.
The final well has given the team trouble. The well has evidently been super-heated due to the nearby eruption, making it difficult to quench.
After quenching all the wells, Travis said the team will work to plug the wells “if time permits”.
Travis took time to answer several questions from media about the process during a 3 p.m. press conference.