After reports of brown water at Carson homes, officials say it’s not related to foul smell from Dominguez Channel

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After 11 days of dealing with an overwhelming stench, a Carson resident said she is also struggling with discolored, foul-smelling water coming out of her drains.

“It’s just like bloop, bloop, nasty big brown bubbles,” Carson resident Sharronn Thompson said Thursday.

The odor — like hydrogen sulfide or rotten eggs — has been traced to the Dominguez Channel near the 405 Freeway and Avalon Boulevard.

But while the home is close to the source of the smell, Los Angeles County Public Works said there is no connection between the community’s water system and the Dominguez Channel.

In a statement released Saturday, the agency said sewer maintenance crews found that the brown water issue stemmed from sanitary sewer backups at two private residences.

“The backup was cleared within the homes, and closed-circuit cameras were used to inspect the underground mainline sewer infrastructure maintained by the County and no issues or blockages were found,” Public Works said in a statement.

The California Water Service also told KTLA they do not believe the brown water issue to be stemming from tap water, but a potential sewer backup.

The company says it conducts regular water quality testing, including tests for odor. The most recent odor test results from Oct. 6 showed no elevated levels of odor detected in the tap water supply, according to California Water Service.

The Dominguez Channel is not connected to the tap water distribution system and Cal Water says the water supply continues to meet or surpass state and federal quality standards.

Customers who experience discolored water coming out of their faucets were asked to directly contact Cal Water, which says that any discolored water would be unrelated to the Dominguez Channel odor issue. 

The bad smell has residents on edge.

“We don’t know exactly what it is that’s coming from the Dominguez Channel,” City Councilman Jawane Hilton said. “That’s what puts people on edge.”

On Thursday, dozens gathered at Carson City Hall to protest the odor, which the demonstrators say is making them sick.

“My nose is burning, my eyes are burning, itching. It’s pretty pungent,” said Carson resident and protester Monique Alvarez.

The AQMD says it is doing regular testing to determine the cause and any potential health effects, but some in Carson say that’s not enough.

“We’re scared. We want answers. I feel like I’m a hostage in my own home … I want the city to answer for this,” Thompson said. “This is unacceptable.”

The stench has been declared a public nuisance by the Carson City Council, and Hilton said the council has approved $100,000 in emergency funds for resident assistance, including paying for hotel rooms, relocation, visits to the doctor and more.

City leaders are also asking Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency.

The city, county and the South Coast Air Quality Management District are investigating.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly indicated that the discolored water was coming out of the faucet. It was coming from the drain. This post has been updated.

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