SALTON SEA: High levels of stinky gas detected

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The Salton Sea
The Salton Sea

COACHELLA – An odor advisory was issued for the Coachella Valley on Thursday afternoon due to elevated levels of a gas that smells like rotten eggs, air quality officials said.

Elevated levels of the gas – known as hydrogen sulfide – were detected downwind of the Salton Sea, about 20 miles southeast of Palm Springs.

The gas peaked Thursday morning at 41 parts per billion over an hour, said Sam Atwood, spokesman of the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The state standard for hydrogen sulfide is 30 parts per billion over an hour. Exposure to the gas at that level may cause headaches and nausea.

The district had not received any complaints about the odor by the end of the business day, Atwood said.

It’s not the first time the odor, caused by decaying organic material at the Salton Sea, has made a stink.

In September 2012, the rotten egg-like smell was reported as far away south as Murrieta and as far west as the San Fernando Valley.