Reports of a foul, rotten-egg smell have been wafting in from across the Victor Valley in California's southeastern desert. But officials say not to worry: It's most likely just fish decaying some 150 miles away at the Salton Sea.
The Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District and inspectors from South Coast and Imperial County air districts are investigating possible causes of the widespread sulfur odors, MDAQMD spokeswoman Violette Roberts said Monday.
While the odors appear to be most concentrated in the Riverside and San Bernardino areas, multiple people have contacted the Daily Press and the MDAQMD to report sulfur smells. Reports have come in from across the Victor Valley, though the majority have come from residents living in Oak Hills and southern Hesperia, closest to the Cajon Pass, which also serves as an entry port for local smog drifting up from the inland and Los Angeles basins.
Though it's not confirmed, Roberts said they believe the odor is hydrogen sulfide caused by a fish die-off at the Salton Sea, which is some 35 miles southeast of Palm Springs. Fish kills, algae blooms and other biological conditions in lakes can cause strong odors, she said, as can other naturally occurring events.
"This happens every so often at the Salton Sea," Roberts said.
She said it appears the hot temperatures, humidity and current wind conditions have made for a "perfect storm," sending the odor north as far as Victorville and west to the San Fernando Valley.
While the smell is a nuisance, Roberts said it poses no threat to human health and no air advisories have been issued.
"Hopefully the weather changes," she said, with little else anyone can do to abate the smell but wait out it out.
The MDAQMD and nearby air districts will continue to investigate the source of the odors, Roberts said, and update information as it becomes available at www.mdaqmd.ca.gov.
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