County handles the foul-smelling water of the Dominguez Strait • Long Beach Post

2021-11-12 12:13:02 By : Mr. Thomas Tian

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County officials said on Thursday night that they would start treating the foul-smelling Dominguez Strait water as soon as today.

Mark Pestrella, director of the county's public works department, said at a special meeting of the Carson City Council that his department will start spraying citrus, biodegradable organic substances on the water. He said that according to his research, this spray has been used to treat sewage.

Pestrella said that hydrogen sulfide is a by-product of the decay and decomposition of vegetation in the channel. The spray will convert the hydrogen sulfide into salt, which then sinks into the channel bed.

"The residents of Carson should see a noticeable difference in smell," he said. He added that residents should see the results within three to five days.

The county will also use mechanical bubblers to aerate the water, which will offset the by-products of hydrogen sulfide. He said they plan to ventilate the water on Monday.

Pestrella said officials from the county's public works department, the fire department, the district attorney's office, the state fish and wildlife office, and the state water control board are investigating the stench. He said they believe that the cause of the smell is the "illegal discharge" of materials into the water, including cardboard, pallet parts and ethanol.

Thursday, October 14, 2021, Dominguez Strait near the exit of Highway 405 on South Avalon Avenue and East Dominguez Street. Photography: Crystal Niebla.

He said that because of this illegal discharge that occurred upstream of the channel, the level of decay in the channel "increased significantly" because the organisms began to feed on materials such as cardboard.

When organisms feed on cardboard, they produce hydrogen sulfide as a by-product.

"This may be the cause of this smell," he said.

Depending on the season, temperature and rainfall, the vegetation in the river will decay regularly throughout the season and then gradually disappear.

"We first regarded it as a regular situation, but as we became more aware of the persistence and intensity of the smell, we knew that something different had happened," Pestreira said.

These agencies suspect that the cardboard emissions came from a large pallet fire that occurred upstream two weeks ago. Pestrela said that a criminal investigation may be ongoing, but it is not clear whether the investigation is related to the fire or material found in the passage. Pestrela said he could not provide more details.

Pestreira said the county has also decided that it needs to recharge the passage by clearing water and vegetation, and implement an "environmental restoration project" for the passage. At present, the timetable for the restoration is unclear.

Since the last Carson City Council meeting on Monday, the County Public Works Department has implemented the following updates and specifications for its reimbursement plan, which is designed to provide those who are seeking financial assistance for this foul-smelling incident:

Pestreira said that hospital expenses and increased electricity bills related to malodor can also be reimbursed. He said that all reimbursement requirements will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Within 14 days after the application for reimbursement, except for meals, all reimbursements must be provided with a receipt, and the county government will reimburse the applicant within 21 days from the date of receipt of the receipt.

Residents of Los Angeles County outside of Carson, such as those living in Long Beach, Wilmington, and Gardena, can also apply for the county's reimbursement program.

A map showing the route of the Dominguez Strait relative to Long Beach. Illustration by Candice Wong

The public works department now also recommends that residents call 211 instead of public works because the 211 call center has a higher capacity to answer calls and connect local residents to the reimbursement plan.

Carson City Councillors expressed concern about the negative effects of the foul smell on the accommodation of nearby residents.

The Mayor of Carson City, Lula Davis-Holmes, said that the hotel’s space is not enough to accommodate larger families, and higher-priced hotels may be needed.

"I can't put five people on one bed," Davis Holmes said.

The special meeting on Thursday was held after a rally outside the Carson City Council. About 30 local residents said the smell was unbearable and called on the city government to take stronger action. They said that exposure to hydrogen sulfide can cause people's symptoms, including headaches, inflammation of the eyes, nose and throat, sneezing, dizziness, insomnia, nausea and even vomiting.

If you need help, please call 211 or visit

Long Beach asks the federal and state to help resolve the stench in the Dominguez Strait

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