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Climate and Environment

LA’s Odor Issues Persist With ‘Putrid’ Smell In Southeast LA

A blue outdoor welcome sign for the city of Cudahy features an image of a golden bear. Spelled out in white letters are the city's population of 24,098 and elevation of 121 feet. At the bottom is a slogan that says Open Minds, Open Doors.
A welcome sign for the city of Cudahy in Southeast L.A. County.
(Caitlin Hernández
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Los Angeles County has another odor problem plaguing residents.

Residents across Southeast L.A. took to social media this week, posting about an overwhelming odor in the air. Cudahy Mayor Elizabeth Alcantar says that smell has been around all her life, usually in the morning.

“We typically have this strong, putrid odor. It's the smell of dead animals, rotting eggs — you're really not able to put a word to what that smell is,” Alcantar said. “It's very strong.”

She said the smell lately has been more frequent and stronger. But for air regulators to do something about such a public nuisance, they have to receive around six-to-10 complaints a day.

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Regulators require residents to report an odor and wait for an inspector every time they smell it. A person who files a complaint has to wait, sometimes hours, for an inspector to come verify the odor. Alcantar says that's just not possible for working families.

“There's a process issue that I think isn't really catering to our communities,” she said.

South Coast Air Quality Management District, or AQMD, handles these reports. Residents can send complaints for excessive odors by visiting its online system or by calling 1-800-288-7664.

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