An estimated 250,000 gallons of sewage spilled into the Los Angeles River, closing local beaches, authorities said today.
According to the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, equipment from one of its maintenance crews malfunctioned and caused a temporary blockage in the sewer. At 9:40 a.m. Thursday, the blockage caused sewage to overflow into the street at Burns Avenue and Rives Avenue in Downey.
“Although our staff worked to set up containment to prevent sewage from reaching receiving waters, we estimate that 250,000 gallons of sewage reached the Los Angeles River before our crews could fully contain the sewage that spilled into a local storm drain,” sanitation district officials said.
The spill was contained at 11:40 a.m. Thursday, Downey authorities said, and sanitation teams have been cleaning the affected area.
“Residents living within the area are allowed access to their homes. Others that don’t live within the area are asked to avoid the area for the remainder of today,” they said.
Because the sewage washes down the river, Long Beach City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis ordered all open coastal swimming areas in Long Beach temporarily closed.
The city’s Health Department’s Recreational Water Quality Health Inspection Team is monitoring water quality along the affected beach sites.
Water monitoring will continue until results comply with state water quality standards, said Long Beach spokeswoman Jennifer Rice Epstein.