Residents told not to worry after chemical release reported on Hawaii Island

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Some Hawaii Island residents were started by a loud boom Thursday afternoon.

Firefighters were called to Puna Geothermal Venture at around 3 p.m.

We’re told one of the wells at the plant tripped offline, releasing steam as well as hydrogen sulfide, a gas that can trigger nausea, coughing, and burning eyes.

However, officials tell us the public should not be alarmed, and there’s no need for evacuations.

Hawaii Fire Department battalion chief Gerald Kosaki says monitors at the plant showed hydrogen sulfide levels at 15.7 parts per billion, which is well below what’s considered dangerous.

Crews also conducted their own tests and the plant and around the perimeter, all of which showed zero readings for hydrogen sulfide.

“(Puna Geothermal is) still diagnosing the problem,” Kosaki told KHON2. “Until then, they really don’t know why it tripped. It may be tripped again and it might be released, so we’ll be there to monitor any release of hydrogen sulfide.”

The Hawaii County Civil Defense is also monitoring the situation and has notified the state Department of Health.

In a statement released 10:15 p.m. Thursday, Civil Defense said “based on all available data from air quality monitoring, there continues to be no threat to the public.”

We’re told power was not impacted.

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