Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Harmful odors declared a public nuisance in Carson

The foul smell emanating from the Dominguez Channel was declared a public health nuisance by Carson City Council on Monday, with Los Angeles County health officials making a similar announcement.

The odor, which has been compared to rotten eggs, vomit, unwashed body parts or “fart bombs”, is probably caused by hydrogen sulfide decomposing organic matter and has been ingested by residents since its introduction about a week ago. Has prompted thousands of complaints from

To minimize the health impact, people should leave the area, the health department said in a news release on Monday, declaring the smell “sufficiently widespread to be considered a public nuisance.”

When the air smells bad, residents should keep doors and windows closed and contact air-conditioning specialists about upgrading filters, the health department said. Pets should stay indoors.

The colorless gas should not cause serious health problems, County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said at a news conference on Sunday.

But residents may experience symptoms such as nausea, headache and burning in the eyes, nose or throat, Davis said, noting that the condition is “a nuisance and must be addressed.”

More than 100 residents called for a meeting of the Carson City Council on Monday evening, mostly to voice health concerns.

The council voted 4 to 0 to declare the smell coming from the Dominguez Channel as a public nuisance.

Gabriel Villalobos, 23, said he was suffering from a “terrible headache” and a burning nose.

“It’s good that you guys are trying to resolve this issue,” Villalobos said in an email read by the city clerk. “But there’s another issue that people are getting hurt by, and I’m not the only person feeling sick.”

Several callers who did not give their names, shouted “Fix it,” “Hurry up” and “Let’s go.”

Council member Jawan Hilton said the county responded slowly and did not communicate adequately with residents.

“I just wanted to keep the record that Carson, we deserve equal treatment,” Hilton said, citing the county’s response to the massive sewage discharge at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant in Playa del Rey.

LA County Supervisor Holly Mitchell said the city’s public nuisance announcement would give residents access to county funds for upgraded air filters.

But Mitchell said a nuisance declaration would not provide housing vouchers for residents wanting to leave the city, as would an emergency declaration.

Elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide near the Dominguez Channel that empties into the Port of Los Angeles have been confirmed by multiple agencies, including the Los Angeles County Fire and Public Health Departments.

At Sunday’s news conference, LA County Public Works Director Mark Pastrella blamed an ongoing drought for the smoke. In a normal year, storm water would have pushed material out of the channel, he said.

Local birds could be at risk because they eat insects that may contain toxic substances, he said.

Carson Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes initially said the toxic gas came from a leaking pipeline.

He later updated his statement on his Facebook page on Sunday, saying investigators had denied the leak.

Pestrela encouraged residents of Carson and unincorporated West Carson to purchase air filters.

Advice on the best filters and how to get reimbursed will be posted on the County Public Works website soon. Pestrela said his department is trying to secure funding for residents who want to move temporarily.

Davis said HEPA air filters with activated charcoal potassium permanganate filtration systems are most effective at eliminating hazardous particles.

County Public Works teams determined Friday that the smell was caused by “drying of organic material” along the Dominguez Channel.

Most of the area is cleared of debris each day, but the crew did not address that section because of the classification as a “soft bottom channel”.

Engineers are trying to figure out how to clean up the odor-causing waste. Some ideas include chlorinating or precipitating the material, Pestrela said.

Residents should report issues with odor to the South Coast Air Quality Management District at (800) CUT-SMOG.

Nation World News Desk
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