Carson residents frustrated with relocation woes, health concerns following foul odor

Residents in the city of Carson are frustrated following a foul odor that has been emanating from the Dominguez Channel into the community for six weeks.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently declared a local emergency, and the Carson City Council also declared an emergency, in an effort to expedite state and federal funds to clean up the channel. Hydrogen sulfide gas has been emanating from the Dominguez Channel due to decaying vegetation, according to county leaders. The smell was first detected in early October.

"My whole family is experiencing all of the side effects. My daughter is 14 and she has asthma and any kind of smoke or pollution just sets it off," said Summer, a mother of two living in Carson.

Summer said her family is experiencing stomach pains, bloody noses and nausea, and her 14-year-old daughter's asthma condition has been exacerbated by the smell.

"My daughter was sitting in her room and she opened her window to get some air through because that's what we were advised to do and suddenly she had an asthma attack and that's not normal for her to have one just sitting still. She had to get a rescue inhaler and that's when I said I have to call the city and try to get relocated," said Summer.

Summer said her family was first relocated to a hotel in Long Beach before being relocated to a hotel near LAX.

"Every week we had this stress of are we gonna have to move or can we stay here?" she said.

Summer said her experience at the hotel near LAX was very uncomfortable.

"We realized that they placed us in a one bedroom with one bed and we have four people in our family. We could smell marijuana smoke in the hallways, in the elevator especially when we were going up and down," she said.

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Summer said she tried contacting the city for help.

"The city staff was not consistent with what they were saying so it really confused me. I got people who were very rude. I'm trying to call and move somewhere else because my children don't feel safe here and when we go home, we get headaches and my daughter has asthma," said Summer.

Kristina and Akil, who got engaged this year, are also struggling with the uncertainty.  

"I've been trying to get help. I've been calling the city every day to no avail. I got told off by someone who was a higher up and I didn't get her name unfortunately. She kind of went off on me and she told me you don't understand the basic English language and stuff like that so after that, I was put off by the city and I don't want to call anymore," said Kristina.

RELATED: Carson Mayor, Council declare local emergency over foul smell

Kristina said they are experiencing side effects too.

"We're stuck home. I've been experiencing nausea, lightheadedness. I've been forgetting things. My stomach has been burning and I have anxiety and depression so that has been affected as well. I just feel kind of hopeless because I don't have money to live out of a hotel for who knows how long and I'm not getting help from the city so what do I do," said Kristina.

A local Carson resident has created a Facebook page to connect residents with resources, and the residents said without that group, they would be unaware of new developments.  

"The lack of response, the lack of urgent response by our local elected leaders really bothered us and really troubled us. Now, we look at the next phase. We can't be living in hotels forever so what's next? We did not get a clear picture from anybody as to how long it would take to clean this up," said Ana Meni, a Carson resident.

LA County officials and members from the South Coast Air Quality Management District participated in a town hall meeting Wednesday to provide an update on the odor. Mark Pestrella, the Director of the LA County Department of Public Works addressed the public.

"We began spraying the channel with an odor neutralizer. The good news is we know what we're dealing with. We know the quantity of it, and we can now tell how long it will take before we can completely treat this water. The unpredictability, and the scale and persistence of the incident has been unlike anything I've seen and I can assure you, we're headed in the right direction," said Pestrella.

RELATED: Carson residents living in hotels after foul odor stinks up area for 2 weeks

County officials said 3,000 residents have been relocated to a hotel due to the odor. Health officials said they do not see any indications suggesting long-term irreversible health effects from the odor, citing that the sulfide levels have fluctuated over the weeks and residents have not been exposed to high enough levels of sulfide that would lead to permanent health concerns.

Eight Carson residents have filed a class-action lawsuit alleging a warehouse fire started the smell. 

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