L.A. River sewage spill forces beach closures in Long Beach

A sign on a beach says "Keep Out, Beach Closed, Sewage Contaminated Water."
Long Beach has temporarily closed all swimming areas west of Belmont Pier after a 12,000-gallon sewage spill in Compton on Monday. Above, a closure sign at Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach on Dec. 31 after an earlier spill of up to 7 million gallons.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

A sewage spill in Compton has forced temporary beach closures in Long Beach, officials confirmed Tuesday.

Dr. Anissa Davis, Long Beach’s city health officer, ordered all swimming areas west of Belmont Pier temporarily closed for water contact, according to a city statement.

The closure will remain in place until water quality meets state standards.

Los Angeles County and state officials informed the city Monday night that about 12,000 gallons of sewage had spilled into the L.A. River that day, according to the statement.


“The sewage spill occurred in the city of Compton due to a grease blockage causing sewage to overflow from a manhole,” city officials said. “For their safety, the community is encouraged to pay close attention to any warning signs posted at the beach.”

Long Beach Health Department inspectors are monitoring water quality along the affected stretch of beach, according to the statement.

For the latest updates on water quality, members of the public can call the city’s water hotline at (562) 570-4199 or visit

The spill comes about a month after a failed sewer line in Carson sent 6 million to 7 million gallons of untreated sewage into the Dominguez Channel, forcing beach closures in L.A. and Orange counties, including Long Beach.

An investigation found the 60-year-old line deteriorated from sulfuric acid buildup and may have been strained by record-setting rainfall that swept across California in December. The line was slated for replacement within the year.

July’s discharge of 17 million gallons of raw sewage from the city’s Hyperion treatment plant exposed residents to toxic gas and other dangers, the suit alleges.

Jan. 5, 2022


In July, a spill from the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant sent more than 17 million gallons of raw sewage into Santa Monica Bay.

Plant officials said a large amount of debris unexpectedly clogged the facility’s filtering screens.

A report issued weeks after the spill found that multiple communications failures among city and county agencies delayed crucial public warnings and emergency response.

Last month, more than 100 El Segundo-area residents filed a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles, accusing it of exposing them to toxic hydrogen sulfide gas and other dangers during and after the spill.