Some L.A. County beaches reopen after large sewage spill

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A beach closure sign is seen in Long Beach. (City of Long Beach via Twitter)

A beach closure sign is seen in Long Beach. (City of Long Beach via Twitter)

More Southern California beaches have been reopening after a large sewage spill shut off large segment of the coastline before New Year’s Day.

Orange County’s health care agency on Monday lifted closures for Seal Beach and Sunset Beach once testing showed the water quality was acceptable, said Julie MacDonald, an agency spokesperson. Los Angeles County health officials on Sunday said closures were lifted for beaches including Point Fermin and Outer Cabrillo. Beaches in Long Beach remained closed, according to the city’s website.

Officials said a sewer main line failed Thursday in the city of Carson, discharging roughly 8.5 million gallons (32 million liters) of sewage into the Dominguez Channel, which empties into Los Angeles Harbor.

The spill prompted the closure of swimming areas stretching from Orange County’s Sunset Beach to Rancho Palos Verdes in Los Angeles County. An annual Polar Bear Swim that usually draws hundreds of people to Cabrillo Beach on New Year’s Day was canceled.

The spill was the biggest reported in four decades in the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, which serve more than 5 million people, said Bryan Langpap, an agency spokesman.

The leak occurred in an aging pipe but the cause was not immediately known, he said.

Officials have been monitoring water quality in onshore and offshore locations but on Monday had no data immediately available for release, he said. The spill was stopped late Friday and crews have been working to install a permanent fix, he said.

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