Carson to Declare Dominguez Channel Stench ‘Public Nuisance’

By Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
October 11, 2021 Updated: October 13, 2021

The Carson City Council is set to declare the foul smell emanating from the Dominguez Channel a “public nuisance” Oct. 11 after Carson residents complained about the stench for weeks.

Carson resident Leonor Gonzalez-Perez told The Epoch Times the smell in her neighborhood became so unbearable she had to stay with her family out of town over the weekend.

“When the smell first started, I was feeling nauseous for a couple of days, then dizzy as days passed,” Gonzalez-Perez said. “When the smell was getting stronger at the beginning of last week, it started irritating my eyes. I got a sore throat by the end of the week and a nasty taste on my tongue, like feces and gas.”

The Los Angeles County Public Works Department, Fire Department, Department of Public Health, and the Air Quality Management District have been conducting investigations into the source of the odor.

At first, it was suggested the stench was caused by organic material drying out along the channel; on Oct. 8, Carson Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes said in a statement on Facebook that the cause of the odor was identified as “a hydrogen sulfide leaking pipeline.”

Later, Davis-Holmes wrote that the leaking pipeline theory was ruled out, and investigators said “organic waste material” drying out in the channel due to low tide is likely the cause of the stench.

“I am … 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,” Davis-Holmes said in an Oct. 8 press release.

“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.”

The press release also said that the South Coast Air Quality Management District believed the foul odor was not likely to “cause any health impacts beyond nuisance type effects.”

However, residents in the surrounding area, including Torrance, Carson, and Harbor City, have complained that the smell gives them headaches, nausea, and keeps them up at night.

On Oct. 9, the stench spread to Harbor City, according to resident Laura Fowler.

“I think the channel should be dredged of debris and things [where] muck doesn’t belong, [so humans and birds can thrive] and the ocean doesn’t get polluted,” Fowler said. “I think this matter needs to be looked into further on what can be done to prevent this from happening in the future.”

Fowler, who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease told The Epoch Times the issue affects the elderly more than the young, especially those with underlying health issues. For now, Fowler is staying indoors with her doors and windows closed with the air conditioning on.

The Public Works Department recommended that residents near the Dominguez Channel keep the doors and windows to their houses closed, and suggested residents purchase a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaner to improve air quality in their home.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell said the city would soon provide resources for residents who would not be able to afford the filters.

Gonzalez-Perez urged his neighbors to purchase the HEPA cleaners, save their receipts, and call the Public Works Department for reimbursement.

The Public Works Department did not respond to a request for comment by press time.