County to end assistance program next week for residents displaced by Dominguez Channel odor

Los Angeles County says air quality has significantly improved in the Dominguez Channel area in recent weeks and it plans to end its assistance program for residents who were temporarily relocated due to foul-smelling hydrogen sulfide gas.

Residents who were part of the county’s Reimbursement and Assistance Program are expected to return home by Friday, the county said in a statement.

The county relocated about 3,000 families from Carson, Long Beach and other neighborhoods near the Dominguez Channel after a foul, rotten egg smell began permeating the area in early October. Officials said the smell was sparked by hydrogen sulfide gas from decaying organic material in the channel.

County officials on Friday said air monitoring levels for hydrogen sulfide over the past two weeks have consistently measured at near pre-incident levels and are now measuring below the state’s air quality standard level of 30 parts per billion.

The county since mid-October has been treating the water in the Dominguez Channel with an odor neutralizer, called Epoleon, which treats sewage water. 

“County, state and city officials are working together to continue protecting your health and that of your loved ones while making the transition back home as easy as possible,” the county said in a statement to area residents.

The Los Angeles County Public Health Department has provided a tip sheet to help temporarily relocated residents prepare to return home.

While the county is ending its assistance program, some residents in a community meeting last week said they’re still feeling sick from the gas and are not ready to return home.

County officials said the odors may continue, even if hydrogen sulfide levels are below the state standard.

If you notice “rotten egg” or “sulfur” odors, you can continue to report them online with South Coast AQMD at aqmd.gov/home/air-quality/complaints or at 1-800-CUT-SMOG (1-800-288-7664).

For those continue to experience symptoms after taking steps to improve air quality in their home, contact the Public Health Community Line at 626-430-9821.

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Kelly Puente is an award-winning general assignment and special projects reporter at the Long Beach Post. She has worked as a journalist in Long Beach since 2006, covering everything from education and crime to courts and breaking news. Kelly previously worked at the Long Beach Press-Telegram and the Orange County Register before joining the Post in 2018. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Cal State Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected].
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