PORTER RANCH, LOS ANGELES (KABC) --After four months, the Southern California Gas Company's leaking well at its Aliso Canyon facility near Porter Ranch was plugged and work began to permanently seal it.
The California Air Resources Board released infrared video that showed gas pouring out of the well then suddenly stopping as the temporary fix kicked in.
"The next step is going to be to apply a permanent seal to the well and that'll be with pumping cement down," Mike Mizrahi, a SoCal Gas spokesperson explained.
SoCal Gas said the cement will be pumped into the well over the next few days and soon after it expected the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources to inspect the well and declare it permanently sealed. At that point, the gas company said residents who were relocated can begin the countdown to return home.
"The negotiation we did with the city attorney, with other community groups, that will be seven nights, eight days once we have that confirmation," Mizrahi stated.
But officials and residents are questioning whether the air will be safe at that point.
"Before these families return home they will need to know with certainty, with certainty, that the air will be safe to breathe and their homes will be safe to occupy," U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer stated.
Boxer held a news conference in Porter Ranch Friday afternoon and called for an independent agency outside of DOGGR to decide whether the community is safe.
"I just love the notion of having an independent entity that is not this DOGGR, who I don't really know the people, but they sound like in the past they've been kind a doggish. They haven't been that respected," Boxer said.
"It's curious that a governmental official from the federal level would call for an independent audit because she doesn't trust the agencies that represent the state," Mizrahi said.
Many residents have also called for an independent audit of the air and stated they would like more time to move back to their homes.
The leak was first reported in October 2015 and became the largest gas leak in U.S. history. It was also the largest environmental disaster in the U.S. since the BP oil spill of 2010.