Officials Expect Carson Odor to Linger Into Weekend

By Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
October 21, 2021 Updated: October 21, 2021

Carson residents expressed frustration as city officials said the foul odor emanating throughout the city for nearly four weeks may extend to the weekend.

Residents began to see a glimmer of hope after LA County Public Works Director (DPW) Mark Pestrella said earlier this week that he expected to see a “significant change in the air quality throughout the week” as the DPW conducted several treatments in the channel.

Those hopes were dashed, however, when DPW officials revised the timeline, saying the smell would likely linger into the weekend.

Pestrella said previously that the stench was likely caused by a hydrogen sulfide release from decaying vegetation in the Dominguez Channel.

Carson Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes said earlier this week that the smell may have been exacerbated by bacteria feeding on decaying pallets and cardboard dumped in the channel after a nearby Prologis warehouse that stored alcohol hand wipes caught fire on Sept. 30.

A DPW spokesperson told the Epoch Times that the department is conducting “quite a few efforts to remedy this situation and bring relief to residents.”

On Oct. 15, the DPW began spraying the channel with a biodegradable neutralizer to diminish the smell. This week, the DPW also drained some of the water out of the channel and pumped in oxygen-fortified water in an attempt to dissolve the hydrogen sulfide.

Despite these efforts, public health officials warned residents on Oct. 19 to avoid prolonged outdoor activities between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Earlier this month, the city began relocating some residents to hotel rooms; it also offered to reimburse residents for air filters purchased to combat the smell in their homes.

The deadline for the reimbursement program was supposed to end on Oct. 21; however, the deadline has since been extended one more week.

Dr. Sharma Henderson, a Carson resident who relocated to a hotel, said on Oct. 20 that the city extended residents’ hotel stays by a week. Henderson is also a candidate for Carson City Council District 4.

Henderson said she was frustrated with the city’s lack of protocol for public health concerns.

“It’s a multifaceted issue,” Henderson said. “There’s also the matter of the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the channel, which clearly has been neglected for so long.”

Henderson said she was “livid” when she heard the mayor tell a news station, ‘I’ve been here for 40 years and they get the smell every now and then but it never lasts long.’”

“I’m like okay, so if it happens at all … why wasn’t there any type of attention brought to that issue?” Henderson said.

Some residents also reported brown, smelly water coming through their faucets and bathtubs.

However, the city said in a statement that there is “no connection” between the Dominguez channel smell and sewer lines, saying that the most recent test results “confirmed no elevated levels of odor in the water.”

“Los Angeles County Sewer Management District (SMD) maintains the sewer lines,” the statement said. “Sewer lines have no connection to the Dominguez Channel or the odor incident. SMD recently performed a mainline cleanout and found no blockage.”