SOUTH LAGUNA : Beach May Remain Closed Until Monday

The repair of a ruptured pipe that is dumping treated sewage near the shoreline is taking longer than anticipated and could keep Aliso Beach closed until at least Monday.

The pipe apparently fractured during a storm in February and has since been dumping thousands of gallons of treated sewage into the ocean daily.

Water officials had hoped to have the pipe repaired by late last week, allowing the beach to reopen shortly thereafter.

However, when a diver attempting to mend the pipe from the inside tried to install steel bands over the fractures, he discovered that the pipe was not perfectly round and that the bands had to be modified, said Lisa Hogan, assistant general manager for Aliso Water Management Agency, the waste water treatment agency that is handling the repair.

The work is being done in the early-morning hours when sewage flow is minimal and can most easily be blocked to allow the diver to work inside the pipe.

"They're trying to make the repair as fast as they can, but there are safety issues involved and we want to make a good repair," Hogan said.

As a result, said Larry Honeybourne, an Orange County Health Care Agency environmental management official, "we're looking at probably Monday of next week" before the beach reopens. It is closed from the Camel Point rock outcropping south of Aliso Pier to the northern border of Treasure Island mobile home park.

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