Two Companies Cited Over Pungent Chemical Spill in Compton

South Main and Rosecrans in Compton the spill occurred on the left open lot.

 

BY BRIAN HEWS • September 14, 2020

 

The South Coast Air Quality Management District has cited a land developer and contractor over a chemical spill in the Compton area last week that caused thousands of complaints of a pungent smell across a large area of Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Bridge Point Gardena Land LLC and contractor OFRS Inc. were cited for causing a public nuisance in violation of rules concerning the release of air contaminants.

If no settlement is reached, the two companies could be subject to civil penalties or a lawsuit.

The spill occurred Thursday at a job site when they attempted to move a small storage tank containing mercaptan, a pungent chemical added to natural gas to help with leak detection.

Fire officials said the site was an abandoned oil field near South Main Street and Rosecrans Avenue in an area near Compton.

The SCAQM said it had received complaints from residents and schools in including parts of Artesia, Cerritos, Lakewood, La Palma, Norwalk, and even Anaheim.

“Mercaptan is sulfur-based and foul-smelling,” the air district said in a news release. “It is also potent — a few drops can cause odors that carry for significant distances.”

Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Ron Haralson said in a news release that firefighters responded to the leak at 11:20 a.m. Thursday and found the spill that “permeated the immediate area and areas downwind to the east. The smell is not a gas leak and poses no fire or health concern.”

“Stay indoors until the smell dissipates,”  Haralson said. Many were already doing just that with the smoke from area fires lingering.

 

 

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