Story at a glance

  • Plant officials said the facility became “inundated with overwhelming quantities of debris, causing backup of the headworks facilities.”
  • The spill resulted in the closure of El Segundo Beach, Grand Avenue Storm Drain and Dockweiler State Beach at Water Way Extension and at Hyperion Plant.
  • Beaches will stay closed until water samples are confirmed negative for bacteria, which should take about 24 hours.

Several miles of beaches in the Los Angeles area closed to swimmers after 17 million gallons of untreated sewage was discharged from a treatment plant into the Santa Monica Bay Sunday. 

Los Angeles County Public Supervisor Janice Hahn said via Twitter that a mechanical failure at Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, the city’s largest treatment plant, resulted in a massive discharge of sewage. 

Plant officials said 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,” plant officials said in a statement

“Approximately 17 million gallons of sewage (representing six percent of a daily load) was discharged as an emergency measure to prevent the plant from going completely offline and discharging much more raw sewage,” they said. 


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The spill resulted in the closure of El Segundo Beach, Grand Avenue Storm Drain and Dockweiler State Beach at Water Way Extension and at Hyperion Plant, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. About 4 miles of beach had to close. 

Health officials warned residents to avoid contact with ocean water in the area and said beaches would stay closed until water samples are confirmed negative for bacteria, which should take about 24 hours. 

“I understand that the plant was able to prevent an even larger spill, but we are going to need answers about how and why this happened,” Hahn tweeted


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Published on Jul 13, 2021