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    What Was That Mystery Area-Wide Odor? AQMD Dispatched Investigators, Info Pending; Here's How Some Of Our Readers Described It

    (Aug. 24, 2006) -- posts below email descriptions of an area-wide odor of (presently) unknown origin experienced by LB and the SP-RPV-Harbor area residents on Aug. 23...and AQMD says they began getting complaints on the evening of Aug. 22.

    LBFD said in an advisory (which we posted on our front page -- -- on August 23 at roughly 3:25 p.m. -- that it had received a small increase in calls for service on the morning of Aug. 23 reporting an area-wide odor.

    AQMD tells us it received some odor complaints streching from the Palos Verdes area to the Long Beach Blvd. area on Tuesday night [Aug. 22] and early Wednesday morning [Aug. 23] and it sent our inspectors out to investigate.

    Our unscientific nose didn't sense the odor at our world headquarters (area Bellflower Blvd./Wardlow Rd).

    We'll post further info as we receive it.

    [begin readers' email text]

    I smelled it Wednesday morning [Aug. 23] at about 8 a.m. I live in Rose Park (Orizaba Ave. @ 10th St). It smelled like oily smoke. Like a refinery was burning. It was moderately strong.

    I live in a two story house very near Atlantic and Carson. As I rose to start the day [Aug. 23] and do my morning stretches at a few minutes before 8 AM, I certainly smelled the odor, having come through the open windows of my second-story bedroom. Hints of the odor were present even earlier, and persisted, at least on the second-story, for at least half an hour.

    ...[F]rom childhood olfactory memories, including six months of living near the Standard Oil - now Chevron - refinery near Point Richmond in the SF Bay Area, my preferred nomination for source of the smell would be a refinery (one or more) or similar operation...

    Thanks for getting on this story. To have to wake up, on an otherwise beautiful sunny morning, to this kind of gross assault - on the lungs and senses if not otherwise directly on the body - is an insult to one's dignity and sense of well-being - to say the least.

    My experience today [Aug. 23]:

    I smelled the odor as I was driving to work. I was heading West on Willow and first noticed the odor as I approached Orange Avenue at about 7:20am. I arrived at work at 7:30am and it was much stronger there, 2425 Webster Avenue (major cross streets Willow and Santa Fe). The odor was more concentrated inside the building and almost unbearable. It irritated my lungs and made me cough. After a couple of hours, the odor began to subside.

    We’re at Temple and Broadway...

    Yes, the stench woke us up around 6:30am [Aug. 23]... I smelled it before the alarm went off.. nothing new to us... we call it ‘refinery stink’ or ‘port stink’ depending on if we can tell the difference... ‘refinery stink’ has more of a sulfur component while ‘port stink’ has more of a diesel tinge... both have a "heaviness" to them and irritate our noses and throats...

    During the summer we usually get one stink or another around 4pm when the winds shift to the west and blow our way... that’s why we had to have central air conditioning installed, even though we live 3 blocks from the beach... that’s pretty sad if you ask me!...

    [From Rancho Palos Verdes]

    It smelled [like] a foul, perhaps organosulfur odor, which could match a number of compounds.

    We get that smell from time to time

    I smelled the odor about 6:30 pm 8/23/2006 at Lomita and Figueroa in Wilmington.

    About 11 to 12 pm I smelled it in the Eastview area of Rancho Palos Verdes --Western and Avenida Aprenda.

    A friend near Gaffey and Channel in San Pedro smelled a bad odor she described as "rotten eggs" about 1:12pm.

    I didn't smell it at Walker and 14th in San Pedro.

    It was smelled at 22nd and Pacific in San Pedro.

    I've heard that it was noticed on Avenida Aprenda just west of Western Avenue in RPV.

    I experienced this same odor this morning [Aug. 23] about 9:00am I believe. It smelled similar to natural gas of some sort. I live at Junipero and 2nd street in Long Beach.

    I have experienced this odor at least 5 or 6 times a year for the last 6 years...

    Further as we learn it.

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