A relief well is within 20 feet of reaching the leaking Southern California Gas Co. well in Aliso Canyon that released tons of methane into the air and led to the dislocation of thousands of residents, regulatory and company officials said Monday. Once they can access the leak — which is about 1.6 miles below ground — crews will cap the well with cement.

“We are very close,” said Chris Gilbride, a spokesman for Southern California Gas’ parent company, Sempra Energy. “However, there are still several significant steps ahead, including pumping fluids into the well to control the gas, then pumping cement to seal the leaking well.” The company has tried at least seven times to plug the well, but those efforts were unsuccessful.

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