Anyone who has strolled around Echo Park Lake knows their nose comes into contact with all sorts of smells, from whiffs of stagnant water and duck droppings to car exhaust whatever is near the public restrooms. But if you think Echo Park Lake smells now just wait until the lake is drained next year and tons of dirt and muck are dug up from the lake bottom as part of a two-year-long, $64.7 million clean up. All of that soggy dirt will generate a fairly noticeable aroma of hydrogen sulfide (think rotten eggs). In response, the city’s Public Works department is now recruiting 15 volunteers to serve on what is called the Odor Monitoring Group to keep a nose out for noxious fumes.
“We we want them to let us know when the odors peak,” said department spokeswoman Olga Morales.”We will in turn to report it to the engineers … to try to do our best to neutralize” the odors.
The members of the Odor Monitoring Group will be unpaid but the clean-up project, which is intended to improve the lake’s water quality, has budgeted $50,000 to deal with odor “complaints or olfactometer readings,” according to an environmental review. The odor monitors will also serve to help keep residents updated about clean up project.
“The main goal is to have the lake surrounded by odor monitoring group members who represent the neighborhood, churches, and businesses closest to the lake and the upcoming work,” Morales said by email. “The qualifications would be someone who is a resident or works in the location, willingness to communicate project information to their neighbors, customers, and church members.”
Morales said the department has already contacted neighborhood groups, churches and other organizations who might be interested in joining the band of odor monitors. Those who are interested can call Public Works at (213) 978-0317 to request an application.