Public health officials caution residents about bacteria levels in Dockweiler, El Segundo beaches

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A sign indicates that the Dockweiler State Beach is closed to swimming after a sewage spill in Playa del Rey, in Los Angeles County, California, on July 13, 2021. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

A sign indicates that the Dockweiler State Beach is closed to swimming after a sewage spill in Playa del Rey, in Los Angeles County, California, on July 13, 2021. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Public health officials cautioned residents on Wednesday about bacteria levels in several Los Angeles County beaches near Dockweiler and El Segundo.

Through special ocean water sampling conducted Tuesday, the county’s Department of Public Health determined that several beaches near the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant in Playa del Rey, the city of L.A.’s largest, exceeded state standards for bacteria in water.

The department noted, however, that no sewage is currently being discharged from the Hyperion plant into the ocean. Bacteria levels can fluctuate from day to day and recent rain events may have impacted the levels, according the Public Health Department.

Just two weeks ago, about 17 million gallons of untreated sewage from the treatment plant closed miles of beaches from the LAX area to El Segundo to swimming. But two days later, ocean water samples met state standards for acceptable water quality and the beaches reopened to swimmers.

Wednesday’s notice included a warning to beachgoers to be careful of swimming, surfing and playing in ocean waters around discharging storm drains, creeks, and rivers. Lifeguards posted yellow advisory signs in affected beach areas, including:

  • El Segundo Beach
    • Grand Avenue storm drain (Near Dockweiler Tower 60)
  • Dockweiler State Beach
    • Ballona Creek (Near Dockweiler Tower 40)
    • Culver Blvd storm drain
    • Hyperion Plant outfall
    • Imperial Highway storm drain (Dockweiler Tower 56)
    • Westchester storm drain
    • World Way extension

Other beaches are also under advisory, but are “very likely due to day-to-day fluctuations in ocean water bacteria levels,” according to the Public Health Department.

  • Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica
  • Montana Ave. storm drain at Santa Monica Beach (Santa Monica North Tower 8)
  • Wilshire Bl. storm drain at Santa Monica Beach (Santa Monica North Tower 12)
  • Temescal Canyon storm drain at Will Rogers State Beach
  • Avalon Beach at Catalina Island (50 feet east of the pier)

The department said there is no reason to suspect at this time that these increases in beach water bacteria are due to the recent sewage discharge at Hyperion.

Meanwhile, a foul odor has sickened some El Segundo residents and is likely to persist for weeks while repairs are made to the Hyperion plant. Public health teams have initiated door-to-door outreach to the nearby community this week, and will continue to do so through Friday.

Information on current beach conditions is available on the county’s 24-hour hotline at 800-525-5662 and online.

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