SANTA MONICA, CA – An overwhelming amount – 17 million gallons of untreated sewage – was spilled into the Pacific Ocean last month, prompting health officials on Friday to brief swimmers and surfers and warn of bacterial levels exceeding state standards in the ocean .
The Los Angeles County’s Department of Health issued an updated warning Thursday night for the following beaches and areas:
- Inner Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro
- Mother beach in Marina del Rey
- Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica
The warnings have been lifted for the following beach areas where recent sample results have determined water quality levels within government standards:
- Malibu Lagoon on Surfrider Beach
- The Bel Air Bay Club on Will Rogers State Beach
A July 11 power outage at the Hyperion treatment plant resulted in 17 million gallon wastewater pollution in Santa Monica Bay. Beaches from El Segundo to LA County’s Dockweiler RV Park have closed and then reopened. Over the past week, warnings have been issued for several beaches north of the leak, including Marina del Rey, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades and Malibu.
Rep. Ted Lieu on Tuesday called for an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“Given the severity of recent incidents, the subsequent and continued discharge of untreated and partially purified wastewater near high-traffic beaches, and the lack of clear communication from the City of Los Angeles, an investigation into the operation, response and environmental impact of the facility is warranted “Justified,” wrote Lieu, D-Torrance, in a letter to EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan and NOAA Administrator Richard W. Spinard.
“When the City of Los Angeles drained this sewage and the facility operators tried to make repairs, key local first responders and nearby cities were not immediately notified of the discharge into the nearby ocean,” he said, adding that it may be against California law from 2007 was created to improve the reporting of wastewater pollution.
Councilor Paul Krekorian of the Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Justice and River Committee on Thursday criticized irresponsible members of the public for not properly disposing of garbage and called on the city to find ways to prevent future incidents.
“The cause of this problem wasn’t staff failure, it wasn’t infrastructure failure, it was people doing stupid, irresponsible things. It was people doing irresponsible things and then expecting the mom government to clean up behind them.” Krekorian said during the meeting of the Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Justice and Flow Committee of the Los Angeles City Council.
Krekorian noted that “trash on the streets, illegally dumped building materials, things that go down the toilet that everyone knows shouldn’t go down the toilet” are stupid things and then expect the government to fix them . “
“In a city this size, we can’t let taxpayers keep investing billions of dollars in new infrastructure and then let irresponsible people ruin the whole process, dumping things in manhole covers, dumping things on the street, dumping things down their toilets. “
Visit the county website to learn more about beach conditions or call 1-800-525-5662.
– City Intelligence Service and Patch Editor Nicole Charky contributed to this report.