Noses needed for Echo Park’s odor patrol

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.

Top right photo by Lauren Powell-Smothers/Flickr; middle right photo by CarbonNYC/flickr; bottom right photo by Bazusa/Flickr

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  1. If someone doesn’t like the church bells next to their house, the suuuuuuure aren’t going to like the sheer funkery of what’s to come! I know it’s going to be an awesome outcome but man o man, am I not going to enjoy this summer.

  2. I was going to stay here on the lake but I’m over it, this seems like a joke. After huge budget cuts in CA they feel the need to go on with this project? I really wanted to stay living here on the lake it was nice leaving my apartment and looking at the lake. See you in about 3-4 years echo park lake :'(

  3. Echo Park resident

    Get ready Echo Park for when they dry out the lake. Propostion O was base on all the contaminate that sit on the bottom of the lake. Like lead,mercury,and all those cancer causing contaminates. I spoke at public comment warning them about the toxic dust that this project would create in the Echo Park community and It has fallen on deaf ears. Please read the lastest statement above Morales said herself ” The lake bed needs to be dry in order for workers to spread lime to help control odors from the exposed dirt and muck, she said.”We need it to be completely dry,” Morales said.” They make no meantion of the dust. If you have ever lived near or pass by a construction site you already know how much dust it kicks up now mix in all the toxic contaminate that will go airborn. If you have any respertory problems your in for many years of more problems.

    just thought I would let you know. don’t believe me do your reseach you might not like what you see.

    Good Luck fellow residents

  4. oh geez, “whatever”… the lake is a mess. it’s going to be improved. sure… it’s going to possibly be nasty for a while. but the end result will be so much better. can you imagine… lotus’ again! i live next to the lake and every day a breeze kick up off of the lake and it’s going to smell for a while. once the more bird friendly waterscaping is done, i’m sure it will be so fabulous. i can’t wait, and i can wait.

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