UPDATE: Strange Smell Plagues Southwest Riverside County

The smell can most likely be attributed to Salton Sea, many officials said. Air quality officials continued to pin down the source of the odor.

Updated at 8:05 p.m. Sept. 10:

The following is an emailed statement from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) regarding a foul odor permeating much of Southern Callifornia Monday:

Air quality officials are continuing to investigate the source of a rotten-egg odor reported last night and today across much of Southern California, from the Salton Sea to the San Fernando Valley.  

“Several factors indicate that the Salton Sea may have been the source of these odors,” said Barry Wallerstein, executive officer for the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD). “However we do not have any definitive evidence to pinpoint the Salton Sea or any other source yet.”

AQMD deployed field inspectors today to the San Fernando Valley, Long Beach, Colton, San Bernardino, Riverside, Perris, Temecula, Banning, Palm Springs, La Quinta and the Salton Sea in an attempt to locate the source of the odor.  

Several sources have reported hot weather and a possible release of bacteria from the bottom of the sea due to winds there. Those conditions could cause strong sulfur odors.  

In addition, strong thunderstorm activity in the Salton Sea area and resulting high winds from the southeast could have pushed odors into the Los Angeles basin. However, it is highly unusual for odors to remain strong up to 150 miles from their source, Wallerstein said.  

AQMD will collect air samples this evening in several locations throughout the Coachella Valley and at the Salton Sea. An analysis of those samples may provide further evidence of a possible source.  

Since midnight last night, AQMD has received about 200 complaints of sulfur- and rotten-egg odors. Most callers were from the Coachella Valley and other portions of Riverside County as well as San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties. Only a few calls came from Orange County.  

A strengthening onshore breeze tomorrow may keep any additional odors from spreading as far west as they did today, AQMD officials said.  

AQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.


The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) is investigating a sulphuric odor—described by residents across Southern California as a "rotten egg" smell—according to an emailed statement.

AQMD, which monitors pollution levels in the region, released a statement Monday saying the agency's inspectors were attempting to track the origin of the malodor, following more than 100 calls about it.

"Residents have complained from a very wide area including the Inland Empire and much of the Los Angeles Basin,'' according to an AQMD statement.

"Fish kills, algae blooms and other biologic conditions in lakes can cause strong odors. Industrial facilities such as wastewater plants also can cause sulfur odors. At this time, AQMD hasn't confirmed any source as the cause of the widespread odor."

Residents in French Valley, Temecula and Murrieta were among those who reported the odor, which was described as a "rotten egg smell."

Weather and utility officials said the smell plaguing southwest Riverside County on Monday morning was most likely attributed to the Salton Sea.

"There is a smell that is coming off of the Salton Sea that because of our current weather conditions is bringing that smell to the area," said Randon Lane, spokesperson for Southern California Gas Co.

Lane said gas company officials have had numerous reports of the smell throughout Riverside County, but thus far had not found any gas leaks associated with the smell.

"As we get the calls we will continue to send people out," Lane said.

The Murrieta Police Department is fielding some calls about the odor, as well, according to Lt. Rob Firmes.

He also attributed it to the weather conditions, saying that according to weather officials, humidity was not allowing normal odors to properly escape the ground.

Murrieta was due for possible thunderstorms and showers throughout the day, according to the National Weather Service.

"The smell is from the Salton Sea," said Senior Meteorologist Kevin Martin with Southern California Weather Authority.com. "An outflow boundary came in last night from Yuma, Ariz., ... crossed the Salton Sea and carried the smell up the Coachella Valley and through the Banning Pass, which ejected outward into the Inland Empire, Orange and Los Angeles County areas."

The Salton Sea is located about 30 miles south of Indio in Riverside County.

Officials at the Eastern Municipal Water District, which services customers from Moreno Valley to Temecula, said the stench was not connected to any of the district's operations.

The EMWD directed further inquiries to AQMD.

Riverside County fire officials expressed no need to "dial 911 to report the odor."

"An unusual odor (rotten egg-like), has been reported throughout Riverside County and also reported as far west as Los Angeles County and has been noticable since early this morning," wrote Jody Hagemann, a spokesperson for CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department.

"The Air Quality Management District is aware of the odor and is investigating and also states they are not aware of any specific hazards associated with the odor," according to Hagemann.

—City News Service contributed to this report.

Jennifer September 10, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Their is gonna be a big earthquake that's why their is a smell from plates shifting in the ground look it up , Prepare yourself with a safety kit ASAP
Bubblebear September 10, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Wonder if it has something to do with the scheduled spraying for mosquitos that had the possibility of carrying the west nile disease and because of the humidity the chemical is lingering in the air....??????
Sam Bradstreet September 10, 2012 at 06:52 PM
No, Stench the President is busy winning an election, working against Republicans to get more jobs and making sure you are safe. LOL.....Romney campaign had to send out a memo today to tell contributors not to worry about the polls......you can tell who they think are winning.....Obama raised more money last month......VOTE FOR OUR PRESIDENT!!!
Cripnsexyass September 10, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Woke up last night smelling it in the High Desert/Hesperia
southstar September 10, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Being a military family, I can tell you its got nothing to do with that lol but I don't think a stench that widespread would have anything to do with salton sea either. Very interesting and creepy
Lisa McKay September 10, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Well its one or two things, Gaia is letting off pressure around the San ANdreas which happens to be a warning sign of an earthquake is immenent OR its those damn chem trail planes I saw overhead yesterday filling the thunderheads with crap so it can spread far & wide...either or it's NOT GOOD! but keep positive people, it may be nothing at all :)
The Republican September 10, 2012 at 07:22 PM
And Carter was ahead 13 points two weeks before losing to Reagan by 10 points. Polls are worthless and manipulated. Sam /Jeff so no Sheriff yet.? I will try harder
The Republican September 10, 2012 at 07:22 PM
By the way that was a Gallop poll...Left leaning pollsters are wrong more than they are RIGHT
Sam Bradstreet September 10, 2012 at 07:55 PM
The stupidity of an unemployed pool cleaner like The Republican......Gallup poll within 2 points http://www.gallup.com/poll/9442/election-polls-accuracy-record-presidential-elections.aspx Holmgren stick to stalking and cleaning pools and haulin trash.....LOL.
Hollyjostan September 10, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I live in simi valley and the smell is very strong here as well. Since we r so far north of the Salten sea I find it hard to believe that's where the smell is coming from. I am a bit creeped out by it I must say
Sam Bradstreet September 10, 2012 at 08:08 PM
What's Great is the American people are seeing that Romney/Ryan don't have a plan to fix anything. They say they will close loopholes in the tax code. BUT........they can't tell anyone because its a secret. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO BALANCE THE BUDGET WILLARD??? He said he'd tell us AFTER the election....LOL.LOL.....because they can't get elected if they tell anyone!!!! NO SPECIFICS....NO ANSWERS.......Gallup poll.....the President winning in Ohio and is STRETCHING the lead......LOL.LOL.LOL.!!!!
Sam Bradstreet September 10, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Mitt Romney made some news when he appeared on Meet the Press yesterday and said he intended to reform the health-care system to allow people with preexisting conditions to obtain health insurance: I'm not getting rid of all of healthcare reform. Of course there are a number of things that I like in healthcare reform that I'm going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. This would be big news, if true. Finding a way for people with preexisting conditions to get coverage requires some pretty major reforms. Obama’s approach (which was also, of course, Mitt Romney’s approach in Massachusetts) was to ban insurance companies from discriminating against people with preexisting conditions, which in turn required an individual mandate to make sure people didn’t only start buying insurance when they were sick, which in turn required subsidies to people who couldn’t afford insurance. You could find another way to do it, like create special insurance pools for sick people, but that would require spending a lot of money (because sick people are expensive to insure), and Romney and Ryan’s budgets are premised on massive cuts to domestic spending. In other words, it’s not true. Romney doesn’t have a plan, or even a vague outline of a plan, to cover people with preexisting conditions.
Joel September 10, 2012 at 08:10 PM
People need to stop bitching about the smell, have we become a society that complains about EVERYTHING? Jesus Christ the United States is full of pansies! Stop calling 911 and slowly reinsert a new tampon.
J S September 10, 2012 at 09:35 PM
My memory is a little foggy, anyone else ever remember experiencing this smell supposedly from the Salton Sea? I've lived in the Elsinore area for over 20 years.
Roger Thomas September 10, 2012 at 09:54 PM
this is what i thought. it has happened before, and it is way to wide spread to be from the salton sea. also if it were from the salton sea why would people smell it both east,west, north, south of there? I would think you would only smell it down wind. the smell is a sulfur smell. this is caused from vulcanic activity. even if it were from the salton sea why would it be so strong? ive been there and just withen the past few months. I do know the the imperial county has had several earthquakes in the past month...
The Republican September 10, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Sam/Jeff Kleiner's wife says the funk from Jeff's fat rolls is HORRIBLE. He sits behind a computer all alone all day and putrifies in a foul ratty turd smell. Whoops sorry rats I didn't mean to put you down since you are sooo much higher in the food chain than the insane disability paid Jeff Kleiner
The Republican September 10, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Moron Sam/ Jeff Kleiner loves slanted polls like this famous Gallop poll in 1979 : President Carter was ahead 13 points in a Gallop poll two weeks before losing to Reagan by 10 points. Polls are worthless and manipulated. Today's LIBTARD SLANTED polls are taking slanted samples to get the slanted numbers that they want in order to sway public opinion instead of gauging it which is their supposed purpose. Jeff Kleiner/Sam is going to be one miserable man in November. I don't look at polls. I look at actions. Obama couldn't even fill a stadium on a Sunny day and used bad weather as a fake excuse to move his DNC address indoors. In 2008 Obama's base was pumped. This year they are desperate just like Jeff. You can tell they are desperate just like Jeff because their lies are getting more extreme. Just like Jeff the idiots lies about me. ROFLMFAO
Sam Bradstreet September 10, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Wait Wait......NOW, Limbaugh went crazy when he heard that Romney likes parts of Obamacare and started screaming and Romney flip flopped AGAIN......he's the weakest candidate of all-time....he has a womanizer running his campaign!! Now, you have to have insurance before he would want insurance companies to insure them with pre-existing conditions. You can be sure, he will strip Social Security, Medicare and any healthcare reform. The rich will get richer and the middle class will just go away.......VOTE FOR OUR PRESIDENT.
Sam Bradstreet September 10, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Polls you talk about were TWENTY YEARS ago pool cleaner......They have classes for illiterate people like you Roy.....you can haul away that tree I have if you want me to pay for it for you....LOL. Obama is winning,,,,,per all the pools except the Right wing Rassmussen poll which has them tied........
Sam Bradstreet September 10, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Arizona’s Birtherpalooza Canceled Over Low Ticket Sales- in RACIST AZ!!!!! Not even the promise of crooner Pat Boone singing oldies from a spinning stage could save what was intended to be the premier birther event of the year later this month in Arizona. Organizers of the gala, which would have featured Boone alongside Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and some of the nation’s other prominent conspiracy theorists, broke the news online Friday that it was canceled “due to inadequate ticket sales.”
Sam Bradstreet September 10, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Cheer for the Raiders tonight!!!!
Sam Bradstreet September 10, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Go Raiders!!
Stephen H September 11, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Obama farted.
The Republican September 11, 2012 at 03:22 AM
It's the smell of 4 more years of malaise and debt under Odumbo.
Guy Smiley September 11, 2012 at 04:55 AM
What's the difference between Obama opponents and Obama supporters? The first group works for a living, the second group votes for a living. Now THAT stinks!
The Republican September 11, 2012 at 05:12 AM
Obamas slogan should be CHAINS...because he is imprisoning those in poverty to state sponsored slavery
Anthony trejo September 11, 2012 at 06:26 AM
Shit smells like shit. Start cleaning the lake dont talk about it
Abby hyun September 11, 2012 at 06:35 AM
Yall are just really getting off topic here.
Veronica September 11, 2012 at 09:14 AM
I woke up first thing yesterday morning saying that it smelled like rotten eggs.
Laura September 16, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Could the source of this smell be from the sulpher located below our earth. There have been tons of earthquakes lately and this makes me wonder if the earth is going to give us a surprise. The Salton Sea area is known to have active volcanos, "The Salton Buttes are a line of four small volcanoes on the southeastern shore of the Salton Sea near Calipatria. Scientists estimate they last erupted between 6,500 and 10,000 years ago -- which at least technically classifies them as active."


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