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Massive Gas Leak Near Los Angeles Plugged After 16 Weeks

Michael Owen Baker / AP

Porter Ranch Estates sit at the foothills near a Southern California Gas Co. gas well that has been leaking methane daily near the community Porter Ranch, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016.

Michael Owen Baker / AP

(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.