Massive gas leak near Los Angeles plugged after 16 weeks

FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2015, file photo, provided by Southern California Gas Co., SoCalGas crews and technical experts attempt to safely stop the flow of natural gas leaking from a storage well at the utility’s Aliso Canyon facility near the Northridge section of Los Angeles. California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, over the massive natural-gas leak that has been spewing fumes into the Los Angeles neighborhood for months. (Javier Mendoza/SoCalGas via AP, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A utility says it has stopped the leak from a ruptured well that gushed massive amounts of natural gas near Los Angeles for 16 weeks.

The leak controlled Thursday drove thousands of residents from their Porter Ranch homes and has been blamed for a variety of symptoms including headaches and nausea.

Southern California Gas Co. tried unsuccessfully for weeks to force mud into the well to stop the leak. It had to drill a second well that intercepted the pipe a mile and a half underground.

The well is not permanently sealed, but if the plug holds it will be cemented closed.

Once state inspectors declare the well permanently sealed, displaced residents will have at least a week to return home.

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