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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

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.