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Multiple Beaches Closed Following Release Of Over 6 Million Gallons Of Sewage

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued a beach closure notice due to the release of approximately 2 to 4 million gallons of untreated sewage in the Dominguez Channel in Carson on Thursday.

It was later reported on Friday afternoon, that at the high end of the spill, 6 to 7 million gallons of sewage were actually released.

According to Public Health, the channel terminates into the Los Angeles Harbor at the Port of Los Angeles.

The release may affect recreational water areas around the following beaches:

  • Cabrillo Beach
  • Point Fermin Beach
  • Royal Palms State Beach
  • Rancho Palos Verdes Beach
  • Seal Beach
  • White Point Park Beach

Closure signs were posted in these areas to ensure the safety of the public.

The affected beaches will remain closed until water samples are confirmed to have bacteria levels within State standards. Public Health officials are advising residents to avoid contact with ocean water in the affected areas.

Swimming, surfing and other water-related activities were all forbidden by authorities on Friday, as crews attempted to contain the situation, as Public Health Officials advised beachgoers to stay out of the water until the advisory is removed.

In response to the massive amount of sewage released into the Dominguez Channel, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn issued a statement:

"A sewage spill of this magnitude is dangerous and unacceptable and we need to understand what happened. The recent storm undoubtedly contributed to the spill but we need infrastructure that doesn't fail when it rains. I am calling on L.A. County Sanitation Districts to do a full investigation into the cause of the spill and whether aging or faulty infrastructure was involved."

Water quality samples will be collected by Public Health and the Los Angeles City Sanitation District.

Seal Beach Mayor was on the scene to speak with CBS reporters on Friday, "Well it's not something that we would see, but you certainly wouldn't want to be in the water when you know you have raw sewage in that quantity that's in the ocean. We have one of our lifeguards here and they've told that they've had to get some folks out of the water."

Orange County health officials weren't made aware of the spill until Friday, nearly 24 hours after the spill was first reported, despite several Los Angeles County beaches closing the day prior.

Residents are also unhappy, as their sanctuary has been tainted until further notice. "It's bad," said Seal Beach local Jack Ross. "If you're gonna see the mess that's sitting out there, it's a little disturbing."

On top of this, the popular winter tourist destination will be severely affected for the foreseeable future. With the warm weather, beautiful beaches and quaint shops, Seal Beach is a perfect vacation spot for those who live in colder areas around the nation, like Charie Shields, who hails from Utah.

With kids in tow, Shields expected a trip filled with time in the water, but officials quickly shut down those dreams on Friday. "We were super bummed, my kids brought their swimming suits and they were excited to get in the water," she said. "Right away, the lifeguard came by and said 'Don't let them go in the water.'" She even said that they wouldn't let her kids touch the water with their toes.

Despite this, her son Nathan Fields wouldn't let his trip be ruined for long, and when CBS reporters asked him how he planned to salvage his vacation, he still had some ideas in mind: "Build sandcastles... feed seagulls."

There is no official indication as to how long the spill will take to clean, but cleanup crews are expected to be on hand for at least the next few days.

The Dominguez Channel hasn't been absent from headlines in recent months, making waves in October, when Carson residents caused an uproar over the disgusting smell that plagued their city following a massive warehouse fire.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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