A sickening rotten-eggs smell may make you queasy Wednesday if you’re anywhere near the much-maligned Salton Sea.
An odor advisory warning of a stench similar to rotten eggs was supposed to expire at midnight, but the smell could linger off and on through much of the summer’s searing heat in southeast Riverside County.
It all stems from elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide at the lake about an hour’s drive south of Palm Springs, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District. In past years the body of water was famed sometimes for having millions of dead fish decomposing on the lake surface.
Efforts through past decades to create more upscale resorts around the lake have failed, leaving behind crumbling ruins. But there are still some nicer waterfront homes despite the occasional terrible smell.
An SCAQMD monitoring station immediately downwind of the Salton Sea detected hydrogen sulfide concentrations at 62 parts per billion Tuesday morning, more than double the state standard of 30 parts per billion. Concentrations of 42 parts per billion were also detected at a monitoring station in Mecca.
At those levels, people nearby can smell the odor and may experience symptoms such as headaches or nausea, according to the air quality agency.
However, SCAQMD says no long-term health effects should be expected in connection with those symptoms and that the odor can be detected even at extremely low concentrations.
The gas, associated with naturally occurring processes at the Salton Sea, may increase with shifting winds, particularly in the early mornings and late afternoons of the summer months, according to SCAQMD.
–City News Service
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