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Officials: California's Enormous Methane Leak Permanently Sealed

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 18/02/2016 Matt Ferner

LOS ANGELES -- State officials announced Thursday that the broken natural gas storage well that has been leaking tens of thousands of metric tons of methane gas for months has been permanently sealed.

“After independently reviewing multiple tests on the leaking well -- including temperature tests, noise tests and cement-bond test -- we have confirmed that the Standard Sesnon 25 well at the Aliso Canyon Storage Field is no longer leaking and the well is sealed,” said Jason Marshall, chief deputy director of the California Department of Conservation (DOC), the agency that houses the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) that has overseen the well sealing effort.

Southern California Gas Co., which operates the facility, is obligated to complete a safety review of the storage facility before further injection will be allowed.

“We recognize the disruption the gas leak has caused to the residents of Porter Ranch and surrounding communities,” Dennis V. Arriola, CEO of SoCalGas, said in a statement. “We are committed to earning back their trust and confidence over time through our actions, not our words.”

Arriola said now that the well is permanently sealed, crews will turn their focus to determining the cause of the leak.

Thousands of people in the affluent Porter Ranch neighborhood, the community adjacent to the broken well and that has felt the most impact from the leak, have been forced to live out of hotels and temporary residences since the pungent gas began seeping into their homes, causing many to suffer headaches, body pains, nosebleeds and painful coughing fits. Many locals remain worried about the damage to the resale value of homes in the area, as well as the possibility that such a leak could happen again.

The permanent seal of the well brings at least the first semblance of normalcy back to the Los Angeles suburb.

Here's a look at just how much methane leaked out of the broken well:

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