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SoCal Gas’ Aliso Canyon Facility Can Reopen Though Cause of Massive Leak Not Determined: State Regulators

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The entrance to Southern California Gas Co.'s Aliso Canyon storage facility. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

The entrance to Southern California Gas Co.'s Aliso Canyon storage facility. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Southern California Gas Co. can reopen its troubled Aliso Canyon underground storage field at a third of its original size, even though the cause of a massive leak there that forced thousands to flee their homes has not been determined, regulators said Tuesday.

The sandstone and shale formation had been used to store pressurized natural gas until an underground leak in October 2015 blew out a well and caused an ongoing release of a noxious plume of gas.

The leak took five months to stem, forcing residents of nearby Porter Ranch and other communities to evacuate their homes.

California regulators say that 34 of the remaining 114 wells — most of them drilled decades ago for the purpose of extracting oil — have passed pressure tests and will be allowed to be put back into use injecting gas. The gas utility has a year to either permanently plug or repair the remaining wells. Records submitted to the state show some of those wells indicated the presence of below-ground leaks.

Click here to read the full story on LATimes.com.