Authorities have traced the cause of a sewage spill that closed RAT Beach in Torrance Wednesday to a residential street in the Palos Verdes Estates, health officials announced.

The beach was closed to swimmers and surfers early in the morning after approximately 5,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into Malaga Creek, which empties into the Pacific Ocean at the Palos Verdes Beach & Athletic Club.

L.A. County lifeguards and a Baywatch Rescue Boat were dispatched to the area to keep people out of the water.

“According to the L.A. County Sanitation District, the backup was caused by roots in the main sewer line located at the 2400 block of Via Pinale Drive,” the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health told KTLA.

RAT is an acronym for “Right After Torrance” since the beach is located just south of Torrance Beach on the southern end of Santa Monica Bay.

Polluted runoff and untreated sewage released into the ocean water can expose swimmers to harmful microorganisms called “pathogens,” the health department said. “These pathogens can be present at or near the site where polluted discharges enter the water.”

The Los Angeles Public Health Department said the beach closure would remain in effect until bacterial levels met health standards. The department also issued warnings for beaches in Santa Monica and Mother’s Beach in Marina Del Ray.

RAT Beach in Torrance closed due to sewage spill
RAT Beach in Torrance closed due to sewage spill. Sept. 7, 2022 (@LACoLifeguards)