DOWNEY - Many residents and visitors noticed a pungent odor drifting across the city on Monday afternoon and evening. The odor was similar to those from previous incidents.There were no reported illnesses or injuries as a result of the odor. The prevailing winds ultimately pushed the odor though Downey and into Santa Fe Springs, Whittier, La Mirada and La Habra. The Downey Fire Department received many calls for service and dispatched crews to investigate the reported problems. The Gas Company also received a large number of calls and sent crews to investigate. As a result of the reported problems, fire department communication operators contacted the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) and asked them to respond with an investigation crew. The source of the odor was reportedly a refinery operation in a neighboring city. The AQMD is following up with them on their business practices. The Fire Department responds with fire crews to investigate suspicious odor incidents immediately after the problems are reported to the fire dispatch center. However, community members are also encouraged to call the Gas Company and the AQMD immediately when a suspicious odor is detected. Gas Company representatives recommend residents and business owners who believe they smell natural gas to immediately call 1-800-427-2200 and report their findings. Once notified, a Gas Company service person will investigate the problem. AQMD representatives recommend residents and business owners immediately call 1-800-CUT-SMOG (1-800-288-7664) to report any suspicious odors. They advised an investigator will respond after the receipt of one phone call during business hours. After hours, the AQMD waits for the third caller before sending out an investigator. Residents can also file written complaints with the AQMD. The AQMD noted they follow up on public nuisance problems when at least 10 residents complain of a problem. Gas Company and AQMD representatives advised that residents should call the 24/7 phone numbers, listed above, when they notice the suspicious odors. Without early notification, it is difficult to track down the possible odor sources and remedy the situation.
********** Published: December 11, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 33