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Long Beach beaches remain closed Sunday after sewage spill, more water tests planned for Monday

Beaches in Long Beach on Sunday were closed for a second day, and will likely remain closed until Tuesday, due to a spill that discharged around 50,000 gallons of untreated sewage into the Los Cerritos Channel.

A Los Angeles County Department of Sanitation pump station lost power and failed on Saturday, discharging the sewage into the channel, city officials said.

Judeth Luong, manager for Long Beach’s Environmental Health Bureau, said city workers would collect more samples from several spots along the coast Monday morning. Tests usually take around 24 hours, so the city should know by Tuesday whether it’s safe to go back into the water.

“If the results show the bacterial levels are within acceptable levels, per state requirements, then we will open them,” Luong said. “If they show high levels of bacteria, then the beaches will remain closed until that water quality is safe enough.”

Tests will look for three types of bacteria — total coliform, fecal coliform, and enterococcus — that are indicators of “the possible presence of disease causing bacteria, viruses or protozoa,” according to the Health Bureau’s website. Those pathogens can lead to such symptoms as diarrhea, stomach cramps, and abdominal pain, among others.

Beaches had remained open despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Luong said Long Beach has seen a trickle of beach-goers looking to get some sun and fresh air amid region-wide stay-at-home orders.

Luong said the city put out signs warning residents of the sewage spill and beach closures.

There was no immediate information about the cause of the power outage at the pump station.

Source: Orange County Register

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