- Associated Press - Monday, May 23, 2016

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Public health officials in Los Angeles County ordered a utility company to stop cleaning the homes of thousands of residents uprooted by a massive gas leak over concerns that protocols were not being followed.

The Department of Public Health ordered the work halted Sunday after concluding that a contractor for Southern California Gas Co. was not properly trained or equipped to carry out the cleanup in the Porter Ranch area of Los Angeles.

Some 8,000 families moved out of their San Fernando Valley homes after the gas well blowout in October, with many people complaining of persistent headaches, nausea and nosebleeds. It took almost four months to plug the leak that spewed the largest-known release of climate-changing methane in the U.S.

Health officials will meet Monday with utility representatives to discuss how to ensure proper cleaning procedures are followed, the Los Angeles Times reported (http://lat.ms/1s4ydAJ ). A judge on Friday ordered the company to provide and pay for the cleaning.

The company said it will follow the protocol proposed by the county.

“We are aware there were some issues raised … on the program’s first day, and we are working to address any issues immediately,” said Chris Gilbride, a SoCalGas spokesman.

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