Utility to pay $8.5 million to settle suit over gas blowout

A California utility will pay $8.5 million to settle a lawsuit over a blowout that spewed natural gas for nearly four months and drove thousands of residents from their Los Angeles homes.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District announced the settlement with the Southern California Gas Co. on Wednesday.

Some of the settlement will fund a study about health impacts from the leak. San Fernando Valley residents have complained of headaches, nausea, nosebleeds, rashes and other ailments.

Scientists say the leak discovered in October 2015 and capped in February last year was the largest-known release of climate-changing methane in U.S. history.

SoCalGas says the settlement follows through with its commitment to fund the health study.

Air pollution regulators had ordered the company to plug the foul-smelling leak.