Hawaiian officials on Monday said they were responding to reports of lava from the Kilauea volcano nearing the Big Island's geothermal plant, which could result in the release of dangerous gases and mandatory evacuations.
Hawaii News Now reported that no wells at the 815-acre Puna Geothermal Venture’s property were threatened, but warned that if lava reaches a well it could cause the release of hydrogen sulfide, which is a dangerous gas.
The Puna Geothermal Venture, known as PGV, is a "geothermal energy conversion plant bringing steam and hot liquid up through underground wells," according to the Hawaiian Electric Company. It provides 25 percent of the power to the Big Island, Reuters reported.
"The hot liquid (brine) is not used for electricity at this time. The steam is directed to a turbine generator that produces electricity," the power company said. "The exhaust steam from this turbine is used to vaporize (heat) an organic working fluid, which drives a second turbine, generating additional electricity."
The report said authorities removed about 60,000 gallons of flammable pentane from the facility. The report said workers there are trying to kill three active wells and are having difficulties with one.
Reuters reported that the wells are about 8,000 feet underground to tap into steam to produce power.
"Safety has been foremost our no. 1 priority for our employees and also for the surrounding community so with that we're not going to spare any resources to ensure safety," Mike Kaleikini of PGV told HNN.
The volcano has been generating earthquakes and spewing lava, sulfur dioxide and ash since it began erupting in Big Island backyards on May 3.
The dangers have forced at least 2,000 people to evacuate and destroyed more than 40 buildings. It’s also created anxiety for thousands of others about the possibility of lava heading their way or cutting off roads they depend on to get to work, school and grocery stores.
Fox News' Travis Fedschun and The Associated Press contributed to this report