Public officials in southern California are searching for the source of a stench that has permeated the region. One theory is that the odor from a massive fish die-off in the Salton Sea, a lake about 75 miles west of San Diego, was blown to the Pacific coastline due to stormy weather. TODAY's Natalie Morales reports.
A strong smell of rotten eggs wafted through far-flung parts of Southern California Monday morning, disturbing children at school in the Moreno Valley and wrinkling noses as far away as the Simi and San Fernando Valleys.
The Air Quality Management District has been investigating the smell, which has prompted many residents to call 911.
There has been considerable speculation that the odor is coming from a fish die-off at the Salton Sea near Indio.
But Andrew Schlange, interim general manager of the Salton Sea Authority, told NBC4 that it is not yet clear whether the inland sea is the culprit.
"We are in the process of trying to track it down," Schlange said. It would be unusual, he said, for a fish die-off to cause odors so far from the Salton Sea.
The smell may not be coming from the Salton Sea at all, he said. Or if it is from the Salton Sea, there could be other reasons for it. For example, Schlange said, high winds that ripped through the area last night might have disturbed still water underneath the surface, bringing up a foul odor.
Emergency personnel at the Los Angeles Fire Department were also trying to track down the smell. But by mid-morning, little information was available, spokesman Brian Humphrey said.
"LAFD is not aware of any specific hazard associated with the odor," Humphrey said in a fire department email alert.
The odor "has been sense across vast expanses of Southern California since early this morning," he wrote.
At Rainbow Ridge Elementary School in Moreno Valley, the smell was particularly bad at about 7:15 a.m. Monday, Kymberlee Henry-Davis said in an email to NBC4.
"All of the children were holding their noses," Henry-Davis wrote. "I even saw a child vomiting."
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