It's starting to look like the enormous natural gas leak, which dragged on for more than three months and led to the relocation of thousands of Porter Ranch residents, might be sealed forever very soon. The leak had been spewing gas into the air since October 23, causing physical side effects like headaches and nausea in (it's been temporarily stopped for now). Many of them want a number of new precautions for when they return, reports the LA Times—they're asking for the air inside their homes to be tested by an independent body, to make sure that no hazardous chemicals are lurking in there (like, say, benzene). They're also asking for the older wells at the Southern California Gas Company's leaky field to be replaced, and for a live feed of infrared cameras to be set up to watch the wells all the time. Whether or not any of these wishes will be granted is another story.
It's completely unclear whether the residents are going to get these things. Two state agencies, the California Air Resources Board and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, are testing the air in the area, but Senator Barbara Boxer and residents are both pushing for an independent study, or one by the Environmental Protection Agency. A SoCal Gas Company spokesman wouldn't even comment on the possibility of a network of infrared cameras to monitor the gas field, and would only say, "We know we've angered people, but SoCal Gas is committed to doing everything we can to regain trust and make sure this never happens again."
Even after the troublesome well is permanently sealed up, the saga isn't over for SoCal Gas, or for any of the many people and parties taking them to court. The gas company is facing a whopping 67 lawsuits, both criminal and civil, as a result of the nearly-four-month-long leak. The state's Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources is also in the process of learning from this whole disaster, "updating all of the regulations that cover natural gas storage." So there might be a whole new batch of rules for them to comply with eventually too.
· Porter Ranch-area residents call for cameras, tests and other safety measures [LAT]
· What Happens in Porter Ranch Now That the Enormous Gas Leak is Finally Plugged? [Curbed LA]
· SoCal Gas Company Knew It Had Failing Pipes at Site of Massive Porter Ranch Gas Leak [Curbed LA]