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Climate and Environment

Chemicals From A Warehouse Fire Contributed To The Foul Stench In Carson

A channel of water is flanked by dirt walls on both sides. A concrete path sits to the left and white building sits to the right. In the distance there is an overpass above the channel.
The Dominguez Channel in Carson.
(Megan Garvey
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Air regulators have found the source of the foul smell that's plagued the South Bay area for months.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District is citing five companies and Los Angeles County. The agency says it all started with a large fire at a Carson warehouse in September.

As firefighters hosed down the flames, chemicals from stored beauty products were washed into the sewer system.

From there, the contaminants, including ethanol, flowed into the Dominguez Channel. That sped up the decay of plants in the waterway, and released Hydrogen Sulfide in the air — the chemical responsible for the rotten egg smell.

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Residents have complained of headaches and nausea since the noxious smell arose in October.

AQMD is giving violation notices to the companies that stored the products and own warehouse, and to L.A. County for not cleaning it up. That could result in civil action.

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