Practicum Project | 2009

Nuisance Odors in the Baldwin Hills

Students: Geoffrey Clifford, Bryan Moy, Andrea Siu, Jennifer Webb and Victoria Zalameda

Advisor: Teaching Associate Travis Brooks with Dr. Travis Longcore and Prof. Magali Delmas

The Baldwin Hills, located in Los Angeles, California, represents a prime example of the intersection of conflicting land uses. Within close proximity to numerous businesses, highways, municipal buildings, and an oil field, the communities within and surrounding the Baldwin Hills are prone to a number of environmental hazards. Because of the large minority populations and low-income populations in these areas, there are also concerns about environmental justice, requiring attention to identify the hazards and to make efforts to mitigate them. Members of the community are concerned about the potential impact to their health from these hazards, including the impact of nuisance odors. However, in part due to the topography of the area, local wind patterns and the intermittent and unpredictable nature of the emission of nuisance odors, it has often been difficult to locate the source. In order to provide a better understanding of the prominence and frequency of nuisance odors in the community, this project will conduct surveys of residents and spokespersons from local sensitive receptors, review complaint records previously filed with the local air quality agency, and speak with leaders in the community that have expert or special knowledge about nuisance odor issues. We identified areas that have been historically impacted by nuisance odors in the past have been identified, and measured local wind patterns in these areas. We compared the relationship between areas impacted by nuisance odors and local wind patters will be compared in a geographic information system (GIS) to summarize the demographics of the impacted areas and identify potential upwind sources of the odors. Wind surveys showed light winds in the morning and greater windspeeds in the afternoon. The results can help describe the baseline conditions for nuisance odors in the Baldwin Hills and to identify specific areas that should be considered for long term air quality monitoring and to identify areas to focus efforts to mitigate future nuisance odor releases.