Huge Sewage Spill Soils Long Beach, L.A. River
July 20, 2016 — UPDATE: L.A. Sanitation estimates that 2,853,200 gallons of sewage was released from the broken sewer during Monday’s spill. Of this amount, 829,100 gallons were contained and returned to the sewer system, while 1,754,100 gallons ultimately reached the Los Angeles River. Emergency sewer repair crews are constructing a permanent bypass system to divert sewage flow around the portion of the pipe that collapsed.
We are still awaiting more complete water quality data from Long Beach and Seal Beach.
July 19, 2016 — BREAKING NEWS: Yesterday afternoon around 2 p.m., a large sewage pipe ruptured near Boyle Heights, spilling 2.4 million gallons of sewage into the L.A. River. The river empties out in Long Beach, so, as a precautionary measure, all beaches in the city of Long Beach are currently closed until further notice. Beaches in Seal Beach from the mouth of the San Gabriel River to Anaheim Bay are also closed.
It’s too early to pinpoint the exact cause of the spill, but aging water and sewage infrastructure is likely to blame: The pipe that collapsed was built in 1929.
While no sewage has been seen on the beach yet, ocean water samples are currently being tested for bacteria that could make swimmers sick. Results should be available on Wednesday, and beaches could reopen as early as Thursday.
Heal the Bay water quality scientists are in touch with public health officials and will keep this blog updated as the situation develops.