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Water samples at Dockweiler State Beach return to state standards

People play on sand at the beach
Beachgoers play on the sand near a sign posted by public health officials cautioning visitors about unhealthful bacteria levels at Dockweiler State Beach last week.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The water quality of several beaches near Dockweiler State Beach has returned to state standards after a sewage spill, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Beachgoers had been warned against swimming along a stretch of coastline after an emergency discharge from the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant sent 17 million gallons of raw sewage into the waters off Dockweiler and El Segundo beaches on July 11 and 12.

More than two weeks later, the plant was still discharging partially treated wastewater into the ocean in violation of state and federal water pollution limits.

The L.A. County Department of Public Health had issued warnings late last week for Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey, advising beachgoers not to swim, surf or play in ocean waters surrounding storm drains, including those at Culver Boulevard, Imperial Highway and Westchester.

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On Monday, advisories for Santa Monica Beach and Topanga Canyon Beach were lifted. Avalon Beach at Catalina Island remains under an advisory.

Even as flooding at a major Los Angeles sewage plant threatened the lives of workers, communication failures masked the enormity of the crisis.

Public Health officials said they had not determined whether increased bacterial levels found during testing were caused by the Hyperion spill or by “daily fluctuations of bacteria in ocean water.”

Information about beach conditions is available through the department’s 24-hour beach closure hotline, (800) 525-5662, or on its department website.


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