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L.A. beaches remain closed after needles, tampons wash ashore

Two Los Angeles-area beaches remained closed Friday, days after more than 200 pounds of waste, including hypodermic needles and tampon applicators, were collected along the shore.

Waste was found at Dockweiler and El Segundo beaches between 45th Street in El Segundo and Ballona Creek, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

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In addition to needles and tampons, condoms also were seen scattered on the wet sand.

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Public health officials still do not know where the waste came from and are investigating. Cleanup efforts continued overnight.

Meanwhile, health officials posted warning signs and are advising visitors and residents to stay away from the sand and water.

County spokeswoman Tonya Durrell has said the waste was not toxic and “does not pose a threat to the public.” Initial tests of water samples showed bacteria levels exceeded state standards. But by Thursday, bacterial levels had sharply diminished.

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Heal the Bay, a nonprofit environmental group, said sewage-related debris and needles were also found in Manhattan Beach, including the community in El Porto. Residents and visitors were asked to avoid Dockweiler and 45th Street in Manhattan Beach.

The organization believes the waste could be related to last week’s storm. An emergency pump probably became overwhelmed and failed at the Hyperion Treatment Plant during the storm, so it was forced to pump wastewater out of a backup sewage pipe, the organization said.

But a net designed to catch plastic waste failed, and it flushed out into Santa Monica Bay, according to Heal the Bay. A new net was installed Thursday and should catch such waste from any future incidents.

For breaking news in California, follow VeronicaRochaLA.

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