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Helicopters in Santa Maria, Orcutt map methane emissions this week

helicopter map ksby 2-7-22.PNG
Posted at 1:16 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 16:20:26-05

Santa Maria and Orcutt residents may hear helicopters overhead as SoCalGas sends aircraft to map emissions in the area this week.

Officials say the helicopters will be at work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Monday, Feb. 7. Work will continue through the week as weather permits.

Bell JetRanger helicopters will be flying back and forth in what the gas company calls a "lawnmower pattern." The helicopters will fly at about 500 feet.

The work is part of the statewide SB 1371 emissions reduction program, a safety effort to detect and map possible methane emissions in the gas company's infrastructure, Tim Mahoney of SoCalGas said.

Helicopters have already been at work in Arroyo Grande.