Utility says it has stopped natural gas leak near Los Angeles after nearly 4 months

Feb 11, 2016 5:32 PM by News Staff

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The gas well above Porter Ranch that has been leaking since October has been temporarily capped, Southern California Gas Company said Thursday.

Thousands of households have been relocated after residents complained of ailments they believe are linked to the natural gas leak at the utility’s Aliso Canyon facility.

Residents complained of headaches, nausea, nosebleeds and other symptoms. Public health officials blame the ailments on an odorant added to the gas and have said there shouldn't be long-term health problems.

The blowout at the largest natural gas-storage facility has released more than 2 million tons of methane into the air above the San Fernando Valley.

The leak has been stopped by the building of a relief well, but SoCalGas said in a statement it will continue work on a permanent seal to the faulty well.

“We have temporarily controlled the natural gas flow from the leaking well and begun the process of sealing the well and permanently stopping the leak.” said Jimmie Cho, SoCalGas senior vice president of gas operations and system integrity, in a written statement.

Cement will be injected from the relief well into the faulty well as part of the permanent cap. SoCalGas said that could happen in the next couple of days.

Residents in temporary housing including hotels will have up to eight days to return home. Those in rental housing will return home when their leases are up.

Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency because of the leak, and SoCalGas is facing nearly a dozen lawsuits from regulators, residents and the city.

State and local regulators have launched investigations into the leak, which began Oct. 23.


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