A foul smell has enveloped the city of Carson for almost a week.
“It smells like puke, vomit, it’s just terrible,” said Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes.
“It’s like having an open sewer line to some degree, but it’s 10 times that,” added City Councilmember Cedric Hicks.
The smell seems to be coming from a flood channel known as the Dominguez Channel, which sits near the 405 Freeway and Avalon Boulevard.
Residents began noticing the smell almost a week ago, and initial theories focused on a potential pipeline leak, perhaps from an oil refinery or a waste management facility.
After an investigation by the Los Angeles County Fire Department, which determined that there was no immediate threat to life, investigators are leaning toward a natural cause.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Department of Public Works and the South Coast Air Quality Management District are involved, and Public Health found very low levels of hydrogen sulfide in the air near the channel.
At low levels, hydrogen sulfide does not have long-term health effects, but inhaling it could cause people to feel sick and irritate their eyes, throats and stomachs.
Davis-Holmes said the city would like to have the stench declared a public nuisance, which could trigger government funding to help people who have been displaced by the stench.
“This odor is overwhelming. It’s overpowering… And if you can’t sleep in your home, it’s not your fault,” Davis-Holmes said.
“If it was any other community, I think a community that was not of color, I think we would’ve gotten a better response time… All of us need to work together to get some type of correction to this problem here in the city,” Holmes added.