Porter Ranch residents and businesses owners can now return home following Thursday morning's announcement from state officials that the Aliso Canyon gas leak has been sealed. The natural gas well owned by the Southern California Gas Co. had been leaking methane and other compounds into the air for four months.
Authorities with the California Division of Oil and Gas confirmed that the flow of natural gas has stopped in the area. This claim was backed up by the California Air Resources Board and South Coast Air Quality Management District, who found that air quality in the Porter Ranch area had returned back to normal.
SEE MORE: Porter Ranch Gas Leak Under Control
Residents who had opted for temporary housing through SoCalGas have until Feb. 25 to return to their houses. As of Thursday morning, nearly 1,800 residents were reported to have returned. Reimbursement checks would also be issued to residents for expenses related to the gas leak, according to SoCalGas.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is also facilitating the return of businesses to the area by offering up to $2 million in loans to businesses and small non-profits. These loans can be used toward debt, salaries, or other costs that were incurred because of the leak.
The Aliso Canyon gas leak was first discovered by SoCalGas on Oct. 23. Though the cause of the leak is still being investigated, several lawsuits have been launched against SoCalGas, and the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office has filed criminal charges against the company for not immediately reporting the leak to state officials.
Reach Staff Reporter Anne Branigin here.