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Officials Seeking Source of Foul Odor Near Dominguez Channel in Carson Area
By City News Service
Published October 8, 2021

Worker wearing yellow protective suit holding warning tape (iStockphoto)

Authorities today continued their efforts to determine the source of a foul odor reported for several days near the Dominguez Channel in the Carson area.

A hazardous materials team was sent to the area of the northbound San Diego (405) Freeway near Avalon Boulevard about 10:15 a.m. Friday, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Hazmat personnel determined that there was no hazard to the public or threat to life, but could not determine the source of the odor, and they turned the investigation over to the Southern California Air Quality Management District, the fire department reported. No injuries were reported. Friday’s hazmat response came in the wake of ongoing complaints from area residents.

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According to a statement from the city of Carson Thursday night, the problem had been reported in the area for several days, and an AQMD team was evaluating whether any area refineries or waste facilities could be the source of the odor. However, the team “identified no facility releases into the Dominguez Channel that would account for any harmful health concerns,” the city statement said.

“Los Angeles County Public Works and Public Health teams have preliminary findings that indicate the origin for the odor is from an organic material drying out after being left on the channel banks during low tide,” the statement said.

“AQMD has systematically evaluated potential facility sources from the base of the Dominguez Channel, spreading out from there to inspect oil refineries in Carson and Wilmington, tank farms, waste treatment and waste facilities.

Preliminary findings are that there has been no release. AQMD does not believe the odors will cause any health impacts beyond nuisance type effects. No official statement from AQMD or the county regarding these preliminary findings or potential health impacts has been made at this time,” the statement said. The city statement also included a statement from Carson Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes.

“It has been three days and we have been asking the various involved agencies to put out a statement to explain what is going on and to ensure that our residents are safe, but have been unsuccessful,” Davis-Holmes said.

“The odor being smelled is believed to be … Hydrogen Sulfide. It is my understanding that prolonged exposure is harmful to humans. I am therefore calling for an investigation and depending upon the results of this investigation and the negative impacts to my residents; the city might consider initiating a class action lawsuit similar to what happened in Porter Ranch.

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“I’m hoping that expected rain in the forecast tonight will wash away the organic material and reduce or improve the odor situation. My question to all involved agencies is, `What is the problem, what is being done to correct it, who is at fault and what is being done to prevent it from happening again?’ We are continuing our efforts to communicate with all involved entities for a resolution,” Davis-Holmes said.

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