VIDEO: 17 Million Gallon Sewage Spill Shuts Down Miles of California Beaches

Several Los Angeles beaches were closed Monday to people hoping to enjoy the water after 17 million gallons of sewage spilled into Santa Monica Bay from a nearby treatment plant.

According to Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, an unspecified mechanical failure caused the initial incident on Sunday at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

Approximately four miles of beaches stretching from El Segundo to Playa del Rey were closed for the time being while officials performed tests, the AP report stated.

In a press release Monday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said closure signs were posted in the affected areas:

Information from the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant indicate approximately 17 million gallons of unfiltered sewage was discharged into the ocean through pipes which extend 1 mile and 5 miles offshore. Public Health officials are advising residents to avoid contact with ocean water in the affected areas. Water quality samples were collected by Public Health and LA City (Hyperion) staff this morning. The affected beaches remain closed until water samples are confirmed negative for elevated bacteria. The testing results are expected to be available within 24 hours. Beach users are advised to stay out of the water until the advisory is removed.

Hyperion Executive Plant Manager Timeyin Dafeta explained in a statement the facility “became inundated with overwhelming quantities of debris, causing backup of the headworks facilities.”

“The plant’s relief system was triggered and sewage flows were controlled through use of the plant’s one-mile outfall and discharge of untreated sewage into Santa Monica Bay,” Dafeta added.

Approximately six percent of the facility’s daily load was discharged in an emergency measure to keep the plant from going offline and spilling additional raw sewage, the statement read.

“As the patrons arrive, lifeguards let them know of the sewage spill, recommend they do not go in the water because of the beach closure, advising them of the potential risk of going in the water,” Capt. Julio Rodriguez with the L.A. County Fire Lifeguards told Fox 11.

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