Carson residents call for better leadership as public works officials seek solution to the smell of the Dominguez Canal – Daily Breeze
Los Angeles County Public Works officials say they have a ready action plan to tackle the foul odors emanating from the Dominguez Canal.
For more than a week, the smell tormented residents of the Carson area – and the neighboring towns of Long Beach and Torrance. The smell was described by residents as sulfur-like, similar to rotten eggs, and residents reported experiencing nausea, dizziness, and pain in their throat and eyes.
The county’s public works department, which assumed responsibility for the scent at a special Carson city council meeting earlier this week, held a virtual town hall to update residents on their progress in the canal, ahead of Carson’s board meeting Thursday night, October. 14.
“I know you are all looking for solutions to the problem you have all been living with for the past 10 days,” Los Angeles County supervisor Holly Mitchell said at the public hearing.
The Dominguez Canal is a 15 mile long canal that provides drainage and flood protection for a watershed of approximately 75,000 acres. It normally drains into the Port of Los Angeles, said Mark Pestrella, director of the LA County Department of Public Works, but that current flow is dependent on rainfall levels in the county.
The affected area is protected by the federal government, Pestrella said, and is designated as United States water.
“That means it has special protections and that’s because the area is known as an intertidal zone,” Pestrella said, “in which the estuary plants will grow.”
Plants that can grow in the channel have a beneficial relationship with the marine life in the habitat. But, said Pestrella, the powerful scent is unlike anything he’s ever known. The Department of Public Works has partnered with County Public Health Department staff, County Fire Department Health Hazardous Materials Division, Coast Air Quality Management District south and other outside agencies to study the canal.
His theory: The discharges from the upstream canal and the lack of rain in the county resulted in an increase in the level of hydrogen sulphide in the part of the canal that runs through Carson.
“We are actively investigating all sources of upstream flow in the channel,” said Pestrella. “And, in fact, we have found a few dumps that concern us and are investigating.”
Meanwhile, dozens of residents gathered outside the Carson Civic Center on Thursday afternoon to call for better city and county leadership in response to the foul smell.
Residents held signs outside the center from noon to 5 p.m., where an endless roar of vehicle horns in support of the rally roamed the adjacent streets.
“Give us the same support that you gave to El Segundo,” said Monique Alvarez, a third-generation Carson resident, in reference to the Hyperion spill earlier this year. “Town of Carson, you’ve failed us. “
A helpline was set up by the public works department for residents at some point on Tuesday to report odor-related incidents and file complaints for the purchase of air filters. And city officials had said at the special meeting on Monday that they would work on purchasing air filters for residents, with the expenses to be reimbursed by the county.
But residents say they have found little help from public works, and that city or county leaders are not doing enough to help the elderly, homebound and residents facing financial insecurities.
“County Public Works, which are responsible for cleaning up the damage, have done nothing to address the problem other than monitoring hydrogen sulfide levels,” said Jeff Steiman, a resident of Imperial Avalon Mobile. Estates, in an email.
“Housing is already wiped out for low-income residents. The elderly are the most exposed to Covid and are already at a disadvantage in helping themselves, ”added Steiman. “Now, aside from watching Imperial Avalon Mobile Estates be dismantled for a development that is already moving them with the blessing of the City of Carson, they have to fend for themselves again.”
In Long Beach, where residents on the west side have also felt the stench, Deputy Mayor Rex Richardson and council members Mary Zendejas and Roberto Uranga formally asked city manager Tom Modica on Thursday to seek help from the federal government and of State.
“As the vice-mayor of Long Beach and representative of the region as a member of the board of directors of the South Coast AQMD, I have been following this situation closely and I am concerned about its impact on residents of Southern California, ”Richardson said in the statement. “Although we have worked with local agencies to remedy this situation, we are calling on our state and federal officials to provide urgent assistance to remedy this public nuisance which has impacted the quality of life of thousands of families in across the region. “
Pestrella, who joined Carson’s meeting to provide a second update to residents, said the reimbursement program is up and running and residents can call the 211 hotline, specify that their call is for the Dominguez channel, and receive feedback. ‘aid.
“It’s an easier number to remember than the one we originally posted on our website,” Pestrella said.
Reimbursements will include air filters, masks, and up to $ 182 per night at a Los Angeles County hotel.
Starting Friday, county public works workers will begin using Epoleon, an environmentally friendly odor neutralizer typically used in landfills, ponds and industrial facilities to convert hydrogen sulfide into salt, ” thus knocking down the hydrogen sulfide released into the air, ”Pestrella said.
The department will also be installing aerators that introduce oxygen into the water, which it says will turn anaerobic digestion into aerobic digestion, a process that does not release hydrogen sulfide.
“I think you will see some difference from what happens in three to five days,” he added.
Pestrella also announced that the County Flood Control District will sponsor an environmental restoration project for the problematic area of the channel, where all vegetation and water will be removed from the channel.