EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Playing ball usually feels like a nice break for Josh Konig and his family, but lately, he cannot seem to enjoy being outside.
“It smells like I just left a porta-potty and I don’t know. The aroma of just stench, you can taste it in your mouth, in your eyes, everything,” Konig said.
What You Need To Know
- A mechanical breakdown at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant caused 17 million gallons of semi treated water to be dumped in the ocean one month ago
- Officials hope to have a significant recovery at the plant by the end of August
- Residents said the spill has caused foul air outside and in their homes, headaches, nausea and rashes
- 20 families are preparing to take legal action for the health concerns they believe has been a result of the spill
All it takes is a gentle breeze for Konig and his family to make their way back inside. It has been just over a month since the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant nearby dumped over 17 million gallons of semi-treated water, and despite the time passed, Konig said the smell still lingers.
“We’ve had headaches. We’ve had sore throats. Your lips get numb, sometimes. Your eyes burn and we didn’t have that before. So obviously, I have to assume what it is from,” he said.
To combat the foul air, Konig installed an air conditioning unit, brought in fans and plenty of candles.
Abraham Sandoval is an attorney that is representing Konig and 19 other El Segundo families that are facing the same health concerns. Sandoval said he is hopeful the El Segundo City Council meeting will shed light on the issues residents are facing and when things can go back to normal.
Sandoval said the families are preparing to take legal action against the responsible agencies.
“All the stuff that’s happening with their pets, their families, the health concerns. I have elderly clients who can’t leave the house because of the smell. People are having rashes,” Sandoval said.
Elena Stern, who is with Los Angeles Public Works, sent Spectrum News 1 a statement on the matter:
“The air quality continues to improve every day, and according to our testing data, is just about back to where it was before the incident on July 11. We continue to extend the reimbursement program on a weekly basis (today it was extended for another week), and will do so until the recovery at the plant is significant, which we anticipate will be at the end of the month.”
Konig remains hopeful that the timeline is realistic and that he finds change in the air he breathes.
“I want it out there for people to understand what the smell is and what we are living through,” Konig said.
Until a breeze of fresh smelling air comes through his neighborhood, Konig said his family will continue to be stuck indoors watching a game rather than playing one.
Full statement from Elena Stern, Los Angeles Public Works:
“The air quality continues to improve every day, and according to our testing data, is just about back to where it was before the incident on July 11. We continue to extend the reimbursement program on a weekly basis (today it was extended for another week), and will do so until the recovery at the plant is significant, which we anticipate will be at the end of the month.
The meeting tonight will be a presentation that will cover what happened, what we did to mitigate the emergency, and what we continue to do to clean, repair and improve.
We post updates and daily testing data on our website and encourage residents to check that for additional information lacitysan.org”