CARSON (CBSLA) – As a sulfur-containing odor continues to plague Carson, a county official on Tuesday urged California Gov. Gavin Newsom to step in and help resolve the issue.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell called on Newsom to declare a state of emergency because of the foul odor that has plagued Carson and other surrounding communities for weeks.
On Tuesday, the LA County Board of Supervisors declared a local emergency in Carson because of the odor that has been traced to hydrogen sulfide gas coming from rotting material in the Dominguez Canal.
The board said the local emergency declaration was prompted by a need to provide more resources to the affected communities, and not because of new health problems in the area.
As of last week, the city of Carson had moved over 1,300 residents to hotel rooms due to the odor. Carson has also declared his own state of emergency.
“It’s been almost a month with this persistent sulfur-containing odor that causes countless residents of Carson and the surrounding communities near the Dominguez Canal to experience nausea and headaches and force many to temporarily move,” Mitchell wrote.
“As we continue to work with the state in assessing this incident, I ask the Governor to join in proclaiming a state of emergency to ensure that we use all resources to address this issue,” Mitchell added.
LA County Public Works officials said they are investigating the possibility that chemicals from local refineries, chemical plants and other facilities may be partly to blame for the odor. A magnitude 4.3 earthquake near Carson in September may have disturbed the lines.
Public works employees have taken steps that the county said drastically reduced the amount of hydrogen sulfide gas coming from the canal. Yet even low concentrations of the gas continue to be a nuisance to nearby communities.
The LA County Department of Public Health has conducted door-to-door outreach contact to more than 8,970 Carson residents, including medically frail individuals, Mitchell said, as well as reaching out to businesses and schools and staffing a related hotline.
Public Works has coordinated with several experts and spent an estimated $ 5.4 million to date on repairing and providing or reimbursing residents for air filters, air purifiers and temporary relocation.
In a statement last week, the city of Carson said a permanent solution could involve deepening the canal and turning it into “a convenience for the city rather than a deterioration.”
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)