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Coastal Area Odor Complaint Response Information

SCAQMD has received numerous odor complaints from areas areas related to a gas/sulfur/chemical type smell. Investigation of potential sources is ongoing.

Background

The SCAQMD has received numerous odor complaints from the Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, and Long Beach areas in the past two years related to a gas/sulfur/chemical type smell.  During these events, the odors are reported to originate along the shoreline and quickly travel through the neighboring cities, eventually dissipating.  Long Beach, Huntington Beach, and Seal Beach fire departments have also reported that their 911 emergency phone lines receive numerous calls for emergency service reporting natural gas leaks during these odor events, prompting them to ask for assistance from the SCAQMD in locating the source.  To date, the source(s) of the odors have not been clearly identified but potential sources are being investigated.  There are multiple sources within the area that have the potential to emit gas/sulfur/chemical type odors, and due to the intermittent nature and unknown source location, it is challenging to assess the cause. 

Additional Information

  • News Release (PDF) - SCAQMD Issues Violation to Oil Tanker Ship for Fugitive Emissions - Nov. 9, 2018
  • Fact Sheet (PDF) - "FAQ on the Coastal Offshore Odor Investigation and Health Effects"
    These frequently asked questions describe the air sampling results and address key questions about the health effects of the measured pollutants.

Complaint Investigations

SCAQMD has responded to the odor complaints along the shoreline by deploying Compliance staff to investigate.  In most cases, the odors have already dissipated by the time they reach the area.  As part of the ongoing investigation into these odors, SCAQMD has taken the following actions:

  • Responded to and investigated all odor complaints near the shoreline area and performed odor surveillance in the surrounding affected coastal communities of Long Beach, Seal Beach, and Huntington Beach (the shoreline complaint area is identified in the yellow highlighted area in the map below). 

  • Enlisted the assistance of the Long Beach, Huntington Beach, and Seal Beach Fire Departments

  • Requested assistance from city, state, and federal agencies to aid in the investigation of the odors and provide additional resources.

  • Conducted plume modeling using wind speed and direction information combined with complaint information during odor events to determine the potential location of the source.

  • Collected and analyzed air samples to determine the types and levels of pollutants that are potentially present during the odor events.

Air Sampling Summary

The SCAQMD  may collect samples as a result of an odor investigation or during routine surveillance activities.   In addition, SCAQMD is working in collaboration with the Long Beach, Huntington Beach, and Seal Beach Fire Departments to collect air samples during their response to 911 calls for natural gas odors. Instantaneous samples (also known as grab samples) are collected when odors are present, and take less than a minute to collect. 

Once a sample is collected, it is delivered to the SCAQMD laboratory for analysis. Instantaneous (grab) air samples were collected on the dates indicated below.  Samples collected in SUMMA canisters were analyzed for the presence of volatile organic compounds. Samples collected in Tedlar bags were analyzed for TRS (total reduced sulfur).  For lab analysis results, click on the link for the type of analysis performed.

All reports below are in PDF format.

Date of sample collection
Sample ID#
Analyzed for
3/1/2017
1706131
Sulfur
3/1/2017
1706145
GCMS
3/14/2017
1707405
GCMS
3/27/2017
1708705
VOC
4/18/2017
1711009
GCMS
5/18/2017
1713806
GCMS
5/27/2017
1714806
Sulfur
6/18/2017
1717004
Sulfur
6/18/2017
1717005
VOC
7/2/2017
1719225
VOC
8/28/2017
1724128
Sulfur
8/28/2017
1724129
TCA
8/28/2017
1724129
VOC
9/9/2017 
1725204
TRS
9/9/2017
1725325 
TCA 
9/9/2017
1725325
VOC
9/10/2017
1725404 
VOC 
9/10/2017 
1725404 
TCA
9/18/2017 
1726101
TCA
9/18/2017
1726101
Sulfur
9/18/2017
1726101 
VOC 
10/5/2017
1727815
TRS
10/17/2017 
1729101
TCA
 10/17/2017
1729101
VOC
 10/17/2017
1729102
TCA
 10/17/2017
1729102 
VOC
 10/17/2017
 1729102
Sulfur 
 11/7/2017
1731201 
VOC
11/7/2017 
 1731201
 TCA
11/7/2017 
 1731202
Sulfur
12/25/2017 
1736009 
 VOC
12/25/2017
1736009 
TCA
12/29/2017 
1800302 
VOC
12/29/2017 
1800302 
TCA
 2/8/2018
1803910 
 TCA
 2/8/2018
1803310 
 VOC
 2/8/2018
1803911 
 Sulfur
 2/8/2018
1804001
 Sulfur
 2/8/2018
1804002
TCA 
 2/8/2018
 1804002
 VOC
 3/29/2018
1808904
Sulfur
 3/29/2018
1808904
TCA
 3/29/2018 
1808904
 VOC
 3/29/2018 
1808905 
 VOC
 3/29/2018
1808905
Sulfur
 3/29/2018
1808905
TCA
 4/7/2018
1809701
TCA
  4/7/2018
1809701
VOC
  4/7/2018
1809702
TRS
 5/16/2018
1813706
TCA
 5/16/2018
1813706 
VOC
 5/17/2018
1813801
TCA
5/17/2018
1813801 
VOC 
 6/1/2018
1815302
TCA
  6/1/2018
1815302
VOC
7/11/2018
1819301
Sulfur 
7/11/2018 
1819301
 TCA 
7/17/2018 
1819901 
Sulfur 
 7/17/2018
1819901 
 TCA
 7/17/2018
1819901 
 VOC
7/18/2018 
1820070 
 VOC
8/14/2018 
1822708 
 Sulfur
8/14/2018  
1822708 
TCA
 8/14/2018 
1822708 
VOC
 8/14/2018 
1822710 
VOC 
8/15/2018 
1822720
TCA
8/15/2018
1822720
VOC
9/22/2018
1826801 
VOC 
9/27/2018
1827101 
VOC 
9/29/2018
1827603 
Sulfur 
9/30/2018 
1827507
TCA
9/30/2018 
1827507
VOC
9/30/2018 
1828301
TCA
9/30/2018  
1828301 
VOC
10/1/2018 
1827506 
TCA
 10/16/2018 
1829046
 TCA
 10/16/2018 
1829046
 VOC

Future Steps

As part of the SCAQMD’s ongoing investigation into the source(s), staff are now focusing on the following:

  • Continuing to respond to, and investigate, odor complaints and perform odor surveillance.

  • Requesting further assistance from city, state, and federal agencies to aid in the investigation of the odors and provide additional resources.

  • Continuing to perform surveillance along the shoreline between Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, and Long Beach with a FLIR camera to potentially identify sources venting to the atmosphere.

  • Working with community members for the collection of samples during odor events. 

Coastal odor complaints2

 

1808904

1808904




1808904

1808904



 

 7/11/2018

1819301

VOC

VOC 
VOC 

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21865 Copley Dr, Diamond Bar, CA 91765

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