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    Results of AQMD Investigation Into Source Of Big Stink July 26-28 In Belmont Shore/southern ELB: "We Dunno" Makes State Freedom of Information Request for Records of Agency's Investigation

    (August 7, 2003) -- A spokesman for the South Coast Air Quality Management District has told the agency has been unable to find the source of the strong natural gas, sulfur type odor reported in the Belmont Shore/southern ELB area in the afternoons of July 26, 27 and 28. is so dissatisfied with the agency's response that we have submitted a state freedom of information (Public Records Act) request to AQMD seeking access to its records responding to this incident.

    As previously reported, experienced the odor firsthand at about 2 p.m. on July 27 while driving through the neighborhood north of Marine Stadium/Belmont Shore near the Appian Way area. The stink was overpowering.

    Not knowing if it was flammable or toxic, our spouse telephoned 911 to report it. We subsequently learned that the LB Fire Dept. had received over 50 telephone calls reporting the stink in the afternoons on July 26, 27 and 28...and asked AQMD to look into the matter.

    AQMD spokesman Sam Atwood said the agency sent an investigator to LB but was unable to locate the source. However, it suspects the source may have been offshore although this has not been conclusively determined. Mr. Atwood added that AQMD conferred with the U.S. Coast Guard about the matter but results of this were also inconclusive.

    In addition to not knowing from where it came, the agency offered no information as to what the substance was. (Natural? Industrial? Maritime? Flammable? Toxic?)

    On Monday July 28, we received an email from a reader in the general area of Studebaker just north of Anaheim Rd. (east of CSULB) who reported "an overwhelming unpleasant odor since Saturday [July 26]. It is noticeable at least from Atherton between Palo Verde and Studebaker down to Anaheim and Studebaker...On Saturday it smelled like sewage or rotting garbage, whereas Sunday and Monday it was a very strong sulfur smell...Oddly, the odor is not constant, but is most noticeable in late afternoon; on July 28, it was at its worst around 4:00 p.m...

    The reader indicated they'd called the LB Gas Co...and the person answering their emergency line indicated they knew about it...and had been getting calls about it since Saturday. LB Gas. (LB Energy) said they'd investigated and determined they were not the source."

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