Mark Pestrella, the director of the county’s Department of Public Works, said that residents and businesses can apply for help as soon as 8 a.m. Tuesday morning. By then, Pestrella said his department will have an online portal on its website and call center specifically established to work with those who have been enduring the stench for the past week. This information will also become available at Carson’s city website as well, city officials said.
The city council held a special meeting to vote on a resolution that declared the foul odor that has been plaguing residents near the Dominguez Channel a “public nuisance.”
Carson’s elected officials and the residents they represent were also asking who is at fault for the ongoing odor, which has been causing residents headaches, nausea and eye irritation.
Pestrella, who oversees the county’s flood system, said the fault lay with him.
“I’m responsible,” he said.
On Friday, Carson Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes said that the cause of the odor had been identified as “a hydrogen sulfide leaking pipeline,” but by Sunday, she said that the leaking-pipeline theory “has been ruled out,” saying investigators again were focusing on “organic waste material drying out after being exposed during low tide.”
Pestrella further explained that a team of scientists and experts from a variety of agencies evaluating the area believe that the smell is coming from decaying vegetation in the channel. They’ve been taking air and water quality samples all day, he said.
The decay of vegetation in the channel “routinely creates the release of hydrogen sulfide as by-product of decaying and decomposition,” Pestrella said.
Washed up plankton from the tide could also be contributing to the decay, he said.
Typically, this odor would last about two days, but now it’s been lasting a week, Pestrella said. His department is trying to figure out how to speed up the decay, which will improve the smell.
By morning, he said he wants to have a set of actions prepared, “But we want to do this carefully because we could actually cause the problem to get worse if we don’t take the right steps in the right order, and that has to do with the biology of what’s going on,” he said.
Because the public officials are still trying to figure out which option they’ll implement, pending further research of the channel, it’s unclear when the odor will go away. The foul odor had been reported since at least Wednesday.
Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis said that the hydrogen sulfide, even in small amounts, can cause vomiting, nausea and other symptoms.
Gabriel Villalobos, 23, a recovering cancer patient living in Carson, wrote in a public comment for the meeting that he had been smelling the odor…