Nasty Gas Smells In Long Beach Launch AQMD Long-Term Investigation — We’re There, And It’s About Time!

We’ve complained about nauseous smells in Long Beach coming from the harbor, the cement factories, and the dreaded petroleum refineries for some time. After years of complaints, AQMD is investigating the recurring stench.

Long Beach is a funky and quirky city to live in. It has great music and a well-diversified community. It’s very different from its neighboring giant, Los Angeles. Although Long Beach tries to best LA, the point is just that it’s unique because of the people who make it so special. But for all the great happenings in Long Beach, there’s something terribly fishy about its odors.

On a clear day, you might catch a whiff of something foul in the air. Halfway between rotten egg and sulfur, it’s enough to close windows and doors, a necessary precaution in big cities these days. The stench is so strong, particularly downtown, that it can reach the neighboring cities of Seal Beach and Huntington Beach.

It’s not easy figuring out if it comes from the thousands of sea vessels pouring in and out of the Los Angeles and Long Beach joint ports, the second largest port location in the nation, or the other industries located nearby or anchored in front of the city beaches. Maybe it’s the thousands of trains shunting goods sent across the western part of the country, or the busy 710 and 110 highways with their incessant line of trucks spewing out diesel fumes. Or maybe it’s the cement factories complemented by petroleum refineries? In any case, you get the picture. The neighborhood is crowded with industries keeping the economy humming.

Anyhow, the news is that the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) is now investigating reports of strong natural gas odors in the Downtown Long Beach area, according to the LBPost. These intermittent stenches have been going on for years with little to no clarification. The mystery smells are finally getting the attention deserved, with AQMD finally looking into them.

AQMD Tackles Strong Industrial Stench In Long Beach

Sam Atwood, a South Coast AQMD spokesman, said the agency received three complaints of recent odors around Downtown Long Beach justifying an investigation. And these smells have been bad enough to prompt emergency evacuations in the past.

Actually, we know now that AQMD has conducted a two-year investigation on the matter. The agency cited one of the many crude oil tankers off the coast of the city’s beaches as a potential source. The Nave Photon tanker was issued a violation for fugitive emissions, according to AQMD. Inspectors found 7 out of 10 pressure valves leaking excessive levels of hydrocarbon vapors, hence the smell of rotten eggs wafting in the air.

We don’t know if the tanker cleaned up its act, but it has since left for the coast of Galveston, Texas. Nor do we know if other tankers, refineries, and other sources are leaking out other more dangerous chemicals in the air. We’ve reached out to SCAQMD for clarifications and will update through a follow-up.

Good News — AQMD Strikes A First Clean Air Blow

Sometimes covering green news can get you down. At times it feels we make great strides towards a cleaner world and at times it seems nothing happens as lobbies run afoul. This time the AQMD agency acted by citing the first violation against a sea vessel. This citation finally prompted a larger investigation into something many of us have suspected for a long time, that air quality in this part of the world needs to be closely investigated.

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