(ABOVE PHOTO) File photo of Puna Geothermal Venture in Pohoiki, courtesy Hawaiian Electric Companies
- The Puna Geothermal Venture plant experienced a pressure release shortly after 1 p.m. on Wednesday.
- Hawaii County Civil Defense issued an alert saying there was no hydrogen sulfide (H2S) release. Normal plant operations were restored and the county said there was no threat to the community by the time civil defense issued its 2 p.m. message.
- UPDATE: Mike Kaleikini, PGV’s Senior Director for Hawaiian Affairs, said it was a pentane release due to an equipment malfunction, and confirms there was no H2S released. Pentane is used as a working fluid and is a hydrocarbon with similar properties to propane and butane, Kaleikini said. All required agency notifications were made, according to PGV, and there was no danger to employees or the community. The geothermal plant was not affected. “We are assessing how much pentane was released,” Kaleikini said.
Robert Petricci, president of the Puna Pono Alliance and geothermal watchdog in the Pohoiki area, said he was on the scene with his portable Jerome H2S monitor when he learned there was no hydrogen sulfide leak. Petricci said he was told it was, instead, a pentane leak. “It sounded like an explosion or jet plane,” wrote Petricci in an email. “Mike (Kaleikini) said it lasted 5 seconds, I got at least 9 calls most said it lasted about 30 seconds.”
On October 20, Petricci used the portable Jerome H2S monitor to document what he believes was a permit violation of the state’s 25ppb hourly H2S air standard by PGV.
The Puna Geothermal Venture plant experienced a pressure release event at approximately 1:06 this afternoon that lasted approximately 10 to 15 seconds. Immediate assessments and response plans were initiated and indicated that there was no hydrogen sulfide release. Emergency response personnel conducted additional hazard assessments and confirmed no release of hydrogen sulfide. Normal plant operations have been restored and there is currently no threat to the community.Hawaii County Civil Defense alert issued at 2:08 p.m. HST on Nov. 5, 2014