Coastline in Long Beach will remain closed after spill dumped 2.4 million gallons of sewage

Coastline in Long Beach will remain closed after spill dumped 2.4 million gallons of sewage
Two people jog along the shoreline in Long Beach on July 19, after officials closed the beach to swimming following a sewage spill. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Beaches in Long Beach will remain closed Thursday following a major sewage leak that spilled 2.4 million gallons of waste into the Los Angeles River earlier this week.

Five of nine test samples showed elevated bacteria levels Thursday, said Nelson Kerr, manager of Long Beach's Bureau of Environmental Health.


Initial samples were clean and didn't show any signs of sewage, he said. But changes in flow from the L.A. River and ocean currents could have caused sewage to reach the beaches.

"It's just a snapshot in that window we take the sample," Kerr said.

The beaches could reopen by Saturday. Health officials will continue testing the waters twice a day until the samples are clean, he said.

Alamitos Bay, Colorado Lagoon and Mother's Beach remain open.

In Seal Beach, health officials on Thursday reopened a stretch of coastline that had closed following the spill.

All coastal beaches were closed Monday after an aging 5-foot sewer pipe ­­collapsed about 2 p.m. at 6th Street and Mission Road in Boyle Heights. The pipe was constructed in 1929.

Debris clogged the line and caused sewage to overflow, according to Paul Gomez, spokesman for the city of Los Angeles' Department of Public Works.

Crews finally stopped the spill about 1:50 p.m. Tuesday, almost 24 hours after the rupture, and installed temporary pumping systems to minimize the flow. A permanent sewer bypass later was installed.

Of the 2.4 million gallons spilled, only 750,000 gallons were captured.

After the spill, crews washed and sanitized streets, sidewalks, storm drains and channels flowing to the L.A. River.

The cause of the failed pipe has not been determined.

Long Beach officials said Monday's leak is the largest sewage spill in the last 10 years to impact the city's beaches.

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12:20 p.m.: This article was updated with officials saying all coastal beaches in Long Beach will remain closed.

This article was originally published at 9:55 a.m.