A strong sulphuric odor that repelled Valley residents was confirmed Tuesday to have emanated from the Salton Sea.
"We now have solid evidence that clearly points to the Salton Sea as
the source of a very large and unusual odor event,'' said Barry Wallerstein,
executive officer of the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Complaints came "from a very wide area including the Inland Empire and
much of the Los Angeles Basin,'' according to an AQMD statement, which noted that "fish kills, algae blooms and other biologic conditions in lakes can cause strong odors.''
According to the agency, which monitors pollution levels in the region,
technicians took air samples and field inspectors used odor surveillance
techniques to isolate the location of the stink and results "showed a clear
progression of hydrogen sulfide levels, with the highest concentrations found
at the Salton Sea and decreasing concentrations found as the distance increased from the sea.''
"This progression, or gradient, points to the Salton Sea as the source
of the odor,'' Wallerstein said.
Organic decay, or dying plant and animal life, produces the unmistakable
rotten-egg scent, officials said, pointing out that thunderstorms over the
inland desert Sunday likely carried the stench from the stagnant Salton Sea to points farther west.