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Residents Say Strong Stench In Carson Keeps Getting Stronger

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - Three days after county crews started spraying deodorizer over rotting growth in the Dominguez Channel, Carson residents said they haven't noticed any improvements.

Residents now put the stench somewhere between "meat that is just decaying" and "the most disgusting sewer waste," they told CBSLA Monday.

In other words, the odor neutralizer hasn't worked yet and locals aren't holding their breath that it will. They say what's making them equally sick to their stomachs is the city and county's response, including taking almost a week to get air purifiers and filters for residents and taking nearly two weeks to relocate residents.

"They allowed us, they purposely allowed us to suffer day after day after day that is inexcusable," said Carson resident Ana Meni.

Monique Alvarez and her family are among those now living in a hotel, in fear of what they've been exposed to.

"Waking up and dealing with my family choking, it's a scary thing to deal with when you're being told it's no big deal: It's an odor issue, it's a nuisance, and your body is telling you something completely different," said Alvarez.

Carson Mayor Lulu Davis-Holmes says she shares their symptoms and their frustration that it took 12 days before county crews did anything to treat the odor in the county-maintained channel.

"Right now I'm feeling frustrated, a little nauseated, a little disappointed in the response time," said Davis-Holmes. "If this had happened in a more affluent community the responses would have been greater."

She says that on Tuesday, public works crews will install an aerator, which they said is like a bubbler in an aquarium, putting oxygen into the water to prevent more of what smells — hydrogen sulfide.

Congresswoman Nanette Baragan has joined her in asking Governor Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency.

"If this solution that they are proposing does not work, I can't wait another 30 days, and say ok, let's go to Plan B," said Baragan. "I want the federal government to get involved."

That declaration would help pay for both the clean-up, any health care, and relocating local residents. The mayor said more than 200 residents have now moved into hotels for at least a week - and the city-county team has just found another 300 open rooms they can use for another 150 people on a waiting list.

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