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SAN CLEMENTE : Spill Closes Stretch of Popular Beach

A sewage spill that closed a 500-foot stretch of popular Poche Beach to swimmers Friday will probably keep the beach closed for the Labor Day holiday weekend, city officials said.

When a backup compressor pump near Interstate 5 failed Thursday morning, about 15,000 gallons of raw sewage was apparently dumped into a storm drain, said Greg Morehead, the city’s utility manager. The drain empties into the ocean near Poche Beach, which is at the north end of town near the intersection of Camino Capistrano and Coast Highway.

“We took care of it right away, but the damage had already been done,” Morehead said.

There is no evidence that the sewage actually reached the ocean, but the beach was closed anyway, he added.

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“We’re not sure it reached the beach, but because there is that possibility, we decided closing the beach was the best thing to do from a health and safety standpoint,” Morehead said. “We will continue testing the water throughout the weekend.”


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