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Carson Officially Announces State Of Emergency Over Foul Odor

Foul odor from Dominguez Channel plaagues city of Carson
CARSON, CA - OCTOBER 11, 2021: Overall, shows the Dominguez Channel in Carson as seen from Carson St. A foul odor is emanating from the Dominguez Channel and public health officials are recommending Carson residents keep their doors and windows closed as authorities work to address the odor. The Dominguez Channel is a drain channel that crosses through industrial areas on its way to the Port of Los Angeles. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

CARSON (CBSLA) - The Carson city council and their mayor, Lula Davis-Holmes, have officially announced a state of emergency in regards to the foul odor that has been plaguing the city for weeks.

The Dominguez Channel has continued to emit a noxious smell, thanks to high levels of hydrogen sulfide gas found in the decaying material at the bottom of the channel.

Carson residents have reported that the smell has caused them a wide array of nuisances including nausea, constant headaches and having to completely avoid the area to try and escape the odor. However, residents outside of Carson have also indicated that they can smell the stench in their areas of Gardena, Torrance, Redondo Beach, Wilmington and Long Beach.

Mayor Davis-Holmes also asked for help outside of local government, "We are also urging the county, Governor Newsom and President Biden declare a state of emergency as well, to provide access to additional resources for residents and business owners, including but not limited to cutting through red tape to enable the county to move quickly to implement the permanent solution of restoring the channel and implementing environmental remediation."

Officials with the Los Angeles County of Public Works have stated that their efforts to remove the stench from the area have thus far gone nowhere, but there has been a significant reduction in the amount of hydrogen sulfide gas present. Public Works has been spraying Epoleon, a natural biodegradable spray that mitigates hydrogen sulfide odor by converting the gas into a byproduct of salt.

In a statement from the city on Monday, they suggested a permanent solution to the problem - dredging the channel. They hope that this would change the Dominguez Channel from a detraction on the community to an amenity.

However, Mark Pestrella, Director of the LA County Public Works, argues that it's easier said than done. The process, which could take months to finish, would be a very particular one, making sure that no other chemicals were released, which could potentially create other problems with the channel. If the channel does in fact need to be dredged, he estimates that about five acre-feet of water would be dredged. One acre-foot is equal to 325,851 gallons of water.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors pushed a proposal to expedite support for those immediately impacted by the situation, with 26 households being moved into three local hotels. They have also asked for help in directly distributing HEPA air filters and filtration units to residents, handing out hotel vouchers, reimbursing cities for supplies and hiring a third party to administer relief supplies and reimbursement. Nearly 3,000 people have applied for reimbursement on similar expenses.

Other residents recently brought litigation into the picture by suing a company and its warehouse that they suppose has liability in the matter. Other residents have even gone as far as moving away from the situation completely.

Last week, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recommended that residents avoid prolonged outdoor activities between the hours of 9PM and 8AM, based on patterns seen with air monitoring results, and reduce exposure whenever odors are strong. Schools in the area were told to have discretion when considering outdoor activities.

They also also recommended that residents keep their pets indoors and immediately take them to the vet if they seem ill - especially if they seem lethargic, have trouble breathing or start to vomit.

All of this comes despite reports from the Los Angeles County Fire Department that claim the smell is non-lethal.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)


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