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Helicopter activity over the Central Coast from SoCalGas project starts Feb. 7

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- Southern California Gas said it will partner with a helicopter company to carry out a mapping and detection project over the Central Coast starting Monday, Feb. 7.

SoCalGas said it is conducting this safety project to map any methane emissions over SoCalGas infrastructure in the locations listed below.

City officials said Santa Maria and Orcutt residents may notice helicopter activity in the area mapped below during week days from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Santa Maria City Manager's Office

Arroyo Grande was also notified from SoCalGas of the same scheduled helicopter activity in the areas mapped below, which include Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, Oceano and other areas in San Luis Obispo County.

City of Arroyo Grande

Santa Maria City officials said they received the following statement from Tim Mahoney of SoCalGas:

This exciting new technology allows us to detect methane emissions from the air at a 500 ft altitude (within normal FAA flight operations regulations.)  SoCalGas will be utilizing a helicopter for the operation.

Mahoney also provided the following information on the mapping project:

  • The flights are expected to be the week of Monday, February 7, 2022 weather permitting.
  • A Bell JetRanger helicopter will be going back and forth in a “lawnmower” pattern at about 500 ft.
  • Hours of operation will be from 8am to 5pm.
  • There is no threat to the community. On the contrary, detection of methane emissions is another way to keep the communities safe.  This is part of SoCalGas’ SB 1371 emissions reduction program.
  • These flights are part of a larger program to detect any emissions throughout the cities and counties served by SoCalGas.

SoCalGas said any questions can be directed to the SoCalGas Customer Contact Center at 1-800-427-2200.

The company said representatives are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County

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