A long stretch of Southern California beaches was closed after 8.5 million gallons of raw sewage was discharged into a channel that empties into Los Angeles Harbor.
“As a safety precaution due to spilled sewage reaching the ocean, the LA County Department of Public Health issued a closure of beaches from Long Beach [north] to Rancho Palos Verdes,” the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts (LACSD) stated on Friday.
The 70th New Year’s Day Polar Bear “Swim & Dip” at Cabrillo Beach had to be canceled due to the spill:
The LACSD said managers would be working with health officials this week “to monitor water quality to determine when beaches are safe to reopen and assess environmental impacts.”
The massive spill was first detected Thursday in the city of Carson after a 48-inch sewer line collapsed and the entire system became overwhelmed by heavy rains. Crews weren’t able to stop the sewage overflow until Saturday when they installed five bypass systems, per the LACSD.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn called for investigation into the incident.
“A spill of this magnitude is dangerous and unacceptable, and we need to understand what happened,” Hahn said in a statement. “The recent storm undoubtedly contributed, but we need infrastructure that doesn’t fail when it rains.”
Hahn also questioned if aging or poorly maintained infrastructure was even to blame.
Last July, Los Angeles beaches were closed when some 17 million gallons of sewage was discharged into Santa Monica Bay due to problems at a Los Angeles wastewater treatment plant.