Beaches from the LAX area to El Segundo reopened to swimmers two days after a spill of about 17 million gallons of untreated sewage from the city of Los Angeles’ largest treatment plant closed miles of shoreline, officials announced Wednesday.
The public was urged to avoid going into the ocean in affected areas Monday, following a power outage Sunday night that caused sewage from the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant in Playa del Rey to spill into the ocean. But as of Wednesday night, results from ocean water samples met state standards for acceptable water quality, the L.A. County Department of Public Health said in a news release.
The following beaches have reopened to swimming:
- Beach #110 – Dockweiler State Beach at Water Way Extension
- Beach #111 – Dockweiler State Beach at Hyperion Plant
- Beach #112 A – El Segundo Beach
- Beach #112 B – Grand Ave. Storm Drain
The unfiltered sewage was discharged into the Pacific Ocean through pipes that extend 1 mile and 5 miles offshore, officials said.
The facility “became inundated with overwhelming quantities of debris, causing backup of the headworks facilities,” Hyperion Executive Plant Manager Timeyin Dafeta said in a statement to the Associated Press.
“The plant’s relief system was triggered and sewage flows were controlled through use of the plant’s one-mile outfall and discharge of untreated sewage into Santa Monica Bay,” Dafeta explained.
Following the sewage spill, the county Public Health Department collected multiple ocean water samples for two consecutive days to determine the bacteria levels in affected and nearby areas.
After receiving test results confirming the beaches were safe to reopen, public health officials notified lifeguards to remove beach closure signs Wednesday evening.
In an abundance of caution, the department will continue to sample affected beaches through Thursday, according a news release.
Although the 17 million gallons of sewage that spilled is a large amount, it doesn’t match up to L.A.’s largest spill. That was in 1998, when more than 30 million gallons of sewage spilled during El Niño storms, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Information on current beach conditions is available on the county’s 24-hour hotline at 800-525-5662 and online.