City closes all beach swimming areas due to sewage spill

The city on Friday temporarily closed all swimming areas at beaches due to a sewage spill, according to a city news release.

Long Beach City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis ordered the closure. State law requires temporary closure and posting at beaches in these situations until the water quality meets state requirements, according to the city. The beaches will be closed until at least Monday, health department spokeswoman Jennifer Rice Epstein said in an email.

City officials initially said that “approximately two to four million gallons of untreated sewage” were discharged into the Dominguez Channel, which terminates in Los Angeles Harbor, on Dec. 30, according to a Long Beach news release.

But Bryan Langpap, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, now estimates the amount of untreated sewage is six to seven million gallons, as of Friday morning.

The sewage spill occurred in Carson and was caused by the failure of a 48-inch sewer main line, according to city health officials.

The collapse of the sewer mainline took place at 212th Street and Moneta Avenue, about two miles away from the Dominguez Channel.

Langpap said it’s still unclear what caused the failure of the sewer mainline. However, they’re certain it was clogged, he said.

“The pipe got clogged, and the sewer backed up behind the clog, and it came out of a manhole up on 212th Street.”

Since the overflow, Langpap said they’ve installed three sewage bypasses, which finally stopped the spill at around 8 a.m. this morning.

Langpap said county officials are now turning their attention to cleaning the affected area, which is about a two-block stretch of 212th Street and from Lynton to Moneta avenues, hoping they can have that cleanup done by this afternoon.

The Long Beach Health Department’s Water Quality inspection team is currently monitoring water quality along the affected beach sites, according to the news release.

Water monitoring will continue until results comply with state water quality standards.

The city already collects water samples every week along Long Beach’s approximately seven miles of beaches, to test bacterial levels, according to the news release.

The city encourages residents to pay attention to any warning signs posted at the beach.

In October, elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide gas emanating from the Dominguez Channel led to thousands of nearby residents in Carson and Long Beach suffering from a variety of debilitating health effects. The cause of the gas remains under investigation.

For the latest status on Long Beach recreational beach water quality, the public can call the Water Hotline at 562-570-4199 or visit http://www.longbeach.gov/beachwaterquality.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional information from the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts and the city of Long Beach.

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Crystal Niebla is the West Long Beach reporter through the Report for America program. Philanthropic organizations pledged to cover the local donor portion of her grant-funded position with the Post. If you want to support Crystal's work, you can donate to her Report For America position at lbpost.com/support.
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