Millions of gallons of partially treated sewage being released into Santa Monica Bay from damaged L.A. treatment plant

Local news

More than two weeks after a flood of raw sewage inundated the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant and triggered a massive discharge into Santa Monica Bay, the damaged facility has continued to release millions of gallons of partially treated wastewater into the Pacific Ocean, in violation of its environmental permit, The Times has learned.

Responding to repeated inquiries from The Times, Los Angeles city sanitation officials confirmed that the facility has violated multiple state and federal water pollution limits since an emergency discharge sent 17 million gallons of raw sewage into the waters off Dockweiler and El Segundo beaches July 11 and 12. The surge of wastewater sent workers fleeing for their lives and has left the plant in a damaged state.

Sanitation officials said in emails that the facility has exceeded levels for solid particles in the wastewater as well as levels for biological oxygen demand and turbidity, or water clarity, all of which are used to measure the degree of organic pollution during the treatment process.

Each day, the plant discharges 260 million gallons of wastewater into the ocean through a five-mile pipe about 12 feet in diameter. State regulators and environmental experts say that because the wastewater is not fully treated, it could potentially harm people and marine life.

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