Air quality officials said that a massive fire at Carson’s warehouse where health and beauty products were stored likely created a foul odor in the Dominguez Canal, which has been causing residents to feel nauseous since early October.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District announced Friday that it has sent infringement notices to four companies linked to the Avalon Boulevard warehouse.
Companies not responding to requests for comment are Virgin Scent (doing business as Art Naturals), Day to Day Imports Inc., Liberty Properties Limited Partnership and its parent company Prologis Inc.
The Air Quality Control District also filed a violation notification to Los Angeles County, which operates the Dominguez Canal.
Sometimes violations can be addressed by taking measures that reduce emissions or otherwise prevent further violations. Failure to reach a settlement may result in civil fines or legal action.
On September 30, a large fire broke out at a warehouse owned by Liberty Properties Limited Partnership and Prologis, which took several days to extinguish.
The fire spilled large amounts of chemicals, including ethanol, in health and wellness products stored at Virgin Scent and Day to Day Imports, into the sewer system and then into the Dominguez Canal, about three miles south, the control department said. air quality. statement.
The chemicals caused the vegetation in the canal to rapidly decompose, producing massive amounts of hydrogen sulfide, a flammable, colorless gas that can be toxic at high levels and causes a stench similar to rotten eggs and flatulence, officials said.
The odor was first reported on October 3 to the South Coast Air Quality Control Area, which has received over 4,600 complaints from residents of Carson, Gardena, Long Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance and Wilmington.
Residents reported headaches, nausea, sore throat, burning eyes, and other symptoms.
Abuse notices targeting companies and the county allege that hydrogen sulfide emissions caused a public nuisance in violation of the county’s air quality and California health and safety regulations.
According to the air quality control department, hydrogen sulfide levels at one point reached nearly 7,000 ppb, which is about 230 times higher than the government’s exposure standard.
Mark Pestrella, Los Angeles County director of public works, said in an interview this week that the county is seeking a state of emergency declaration that will authorize financial assistance as it continues to clean up and rebuild the canal.
In a November 30 letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Pestrella said his department had spent about $ 54 million to clean up the canal, as well as hotel rooms and air purifiers for residents.
If the clean-up lasts until March, the price could range from $ 108 million to $ 143 million, he said.
Pestrella said there was never any doubt that the decomposition of organic materials caused the foul odor of hydrogen sulfide that forms in an oxygen-free environment. Rather, he said, investigators were trying to pinpoint exactly what it was in the channel that led to such an abrupt change in conditions.
“In simple terms, there must be something out of the water that we usually don’t see,” he said. “There had to be a chemical reaction other than organic anaerobic digestion. We actually had a chemical oxygen demand, not a biological oxygen demand. ”
According to the county, 3,200 property owners were temporarily relocated to hotels due to the smell, and 27,000 air purifiers were delivered to homes in Carson and surrounding areas.
City and county hotel room reimbursement programs ended November 26, and air purification and air purification programs ended this week.
Last month, Los Angeles County Councilor Rodrigo A. Castro-Silva sent a letter to attorneys for Virgin Scent, Day to Day Imports, Prologis, and Liberty Properties, notifying them that they must retain whatever counts as evidence if the county is sued …
A letter provided to the Times on Friday refers to a September fire at a warehouse at 16325 S. Avalon Blvd. has been ignited by illegally stored flammable materials, including hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes.
In October, eight Carson residents filed a class action lawsuit against three companies, alleging fire was the cause of the odor.