Alert issued after uncontrolled emissions reported at Puna Geothermal

A Civil Defense Alert is now in effect for the following areas due to the uncontrolled release of steam containing hydrogen sulfide at the Puna Geothermal Venture plant in Pohoiki: Leilani Estates, Pohoiki Road and Lani Puna.

Emergency officials say the plant tripped offline at around 8 p.m.

Emergency crews are responding and plant operators are working on controlling the release and monitoring the emissions.

Hazmat teams with the Hawaii Fire Department are also responding and conducting additional assessments.

“It is likely that it is hydrogen sulfide, which is a byproduct of their operation and it was released,” said Darryl Oliveira, Hawaii County Civil Defense. “We do not know the exact concentrations and volumes at this time, but that information will be shared with the community as soon as we know. We’re monitoring the situation and are in close contact with both Puna Geothermal as well as the fire department.”

Residents are advised to remain indoors or to evacuate the area if any discomfort is experienced.

The Pahoa High School gym is currently open as an evacuation shelter for those who wish to leave the area.

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