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Air quality officials OK odor-monitoring system

Posted: January 14, 2013 9:34 a.m.
Updated: January 14, 2013 9:34 a.m.

A September morning stench that was eventually traced to the Salton Sea has prompted air quality officials to approved a stink-sensor system at the inland Southern California body of water.

It was the morning of Sept. 9 when an unusual combination of high temperatures, a strong wind from the southeast and a fish die-off pushed stinky air from the Salton Sea as far as Ventura County, sending public safety officials scrambling to figure out the source.

In the Santa Clarita Valley, sheriff’s deputies were sent to north Valencia to hunt for the source of the rotten-egg smell until it became apparent the stench affected a much wider area.

Some schools kept students inside out of concern for their safety, and Los Angeles police issued a plea to the public asking them to stop jamming switchboards with calls about the malodorous air.

It took hours to trace the stink to the Salton Sea.

Earlier this month, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which monitors air quality for a wide area of Southern California, approved spending $200,000 for a stench-sensor system to be forewarned if the problem again presents itself.

Equipment to measure elevated odor levels will be set up at two locations around the lake, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

Information collected will be used to develop a plan for notifying the public in the event of future incidents.





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