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Dockweiler State Beach reopens after cleanup of medical waste

Los Angeles County public health officials on Sunday reopened Dockweiler State Beach, which had been closed for four days after medical waste washed ashore and prompted concerns about bacteria levels in the water.

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Health officials said the beach is safe but cited an ongoing investigation into the cause of the debris, which included hypodermic needles, tampon applicators and condoms.

Officials said one possibility is that heavy rains forced the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant to divert wastewater through a 1-mile pipe that had not been used in nearly a decade. Debris that collected in the unused pipe during that time may have been released along with the wastewater, officials said. 

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More than 200 pounds of debris was collected at the beach since its closure Wednesday, said L.A. Sanitation Department spokeswoman Tonya Durrell. Durrell said bacteria levels have decreased and meet state water quality standards.

"Our environmental inspectors over last two to three days have come across less and less debris," Durrell said. "They will continue to monitor the area during the next few days.

Twitter: @zahiratorres.

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