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Monday, January 24, 2022

Sued in case of stench on Dominguez Canal; Carson sewer line repair completed

Los Angeles County filed a lawsuit on Thursday, January 13, in connection with an incident in which bad odors entered a large part of Carson near the Dominguez Canal and cost millions of dollars.

The lawsuit was filed against tenants and owners of a warehouse in Carson, where it was determined that illegally stored chemicals had entered the Dominguez Strait as a result of a massive fire.

The lawsuit, filed in the Supreme Court, involves 10 defendants, including Liberty Property Limited Partnership, which owns the warehouse, and its parent company, Prologis Inc.

The lawsuit is seeking reimbursement for the county’s expenses incurred in connection with the incident. Compensation for disorderly conduct is sought.

Days after the September 30 warehouse fire, Carson residents began complaining about a foul odor coming from the 15-mile Dominguez Canal. The odor, initially attributed to high levels of hydrogen sulfide from decaying vegetation in the canal, lingered for several weeks and wafted all the way to Long Beach.

In November, county officials estimated that the cost of completely suppressing the stench could be up to $143 million.

The lawsuit alleges that the tenants and corporate owners of the warehouse were aware of the hazards and fire danger at the facility and could have taken steps to address the hazardous conditions.

Chemicals from the scene entered the storm sewer and then into the canal, resulting in the formation of hydrogen sulfide gas, which affected thousands of residents of the county.

The county and its flood control district suffered tens of millions of dollars in response to the incident, including relocation benefits for residents, air filters and various pollution control measures.

County Inspector Chair Holly Mitchell said filing a lawsuit is critical to efforts to hold Carson residents accountable.

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“The property owners responsible for this must pay for their illegal business practices, which have cost the county millions in damages and relief, and more importantly, physically harmed our residents,” Mitchell said.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Khan called the incident “inexcusable.”

“The months-long smell meant financial and emotional stress on top of weeks of discomfort,” she said.

The lawsuit seeks civil sanctions for unfair business practices and restitution of the millions of dollars the incident cost.

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