Compliments of L.A. Times
State officials on Thursday announced that the leaking natural gas well in Porter Ranch that spewed plumes of methane and other compounds into the atmosphere has been sealed.
“We have good news. The Division of Oil and Gas has confirmed that the leak in the Aliso Canyon storage field is permanently sealed,” Jason Marshall, chief deputy director of the state Department of Conservation, said at a news conference at a Southern California Gas Co. office in Chatsworth.
The news put an end to four months of foul air that sickened many residents and forced thousands of people to relocate to temporary housing far from the leaking well. Crewsreached the leak last week and injected heavy fluids and then cement to seal it.
Dennis Arriola, president and chief executive of Southern California Gas, said the company would develop a plan to mitigate the damage the leaking well did to the environment and will support “forward-looking” regulations.
“To the residents of Porter Ranch and the surrounding communities, I want to tell you I recognize the disruption that this gas leak has caused to your lives,” Arriola said. “I know there is nothing that I can say that will change the past, but I know that measurable actions actually speak louder than words.”
The company said in a statement that the leaking well had been taken out of service. A local assistance center that will help residents and businesses recover from the leak will open Friday morning at the Mason Recreation Center in Chatsworth.
Residents who moved out of their homes were notified by phone, text and email Thursday morning that they have eight days to vacate their temporary housing that the gas company has been paying for. By early Thursday, residents of 1,800 households had returned to their homes, said Gillian Wright, vice president of customer service for the utility.
An estimated 4,000 reimbursement checks were to be issued on Thursday to residents who incurred expenses related to the gas leak, she said.