About 9:30 a.m., a crew from Boots and Coots International Well Control poured a special gel into the well along Imperial Highway in a bid to plug it, Los Angeles County fire Capt. Brian Jordan said.
“If today's gel operation proves to be successful, those families may be able to go home in about 24 hours,'' Jordan said.
“Of course, that's the plan but that's not yet been confirmed.''
The former water well owned by Golden State Water Co., off Imperial between Inglewood and Firmona avenues, developed a high-pressure gas-and-water leak reported about 6:20 p.m. Thursday.
About 37 homes were evacuated as a precaution.
Methane, typically the largest component of natural gas, is flammable and can be explosive in the right combination with air.
Golden State arranged for temporary housing for displaced residents.
As they did yesterday, authorities closed Imperial Highway between Inglewood and Firmona avenues for the latest attempt to stop the flow of methane, Jordan said.
On Monday morning, the Glenn Anderson (105) Freeway was closed between Crenshaw Boulevard and the San Diego (405) Freeway for about an hour.
The well-control company assembled a piping system to relieve pressure on the well, then began pumping in mud in hopes of capping it.
By 2:45 p.m. Monday, the flow of water and methane had stopped but crews continued to inject mud and other materials to fully plug the well, Jordan said.
Since then, methane readings at the site have been `”very low but not zero,'' Jordan said.
Displaced residents were allowed to get essentials from their homes on Sunday.
Methane gas naturally occurs in pockets under much of the Southern California flatlands, geologists say.
A stench detected along the coast March 3 was attributed to a natural release of methane under Santa Monica Bay that bubbled to the surface.
When collected by pipelines, the odorless methane is scented with an additive, then piped into businesses and homes as “natural gas.''
Jordan said methane itself is not poisonous but can be deadly if it displaces oxygen in an enclosed space.