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Sewage spill closes beach in Venice, Playa del Rey

January 17, 2012 |  6:38 pm

Beach closed by Ballona Creek sewage spillHealth officials closed a stretch of beach in Venice and Playa del Rey on Tuesday after a blocked sewer pipeline upstream released more than 11,000 gallons of sewage.

Officials said the spill was contained, and there were no signs of sewage making its way from a city park in Inglewood into nearby Centinela Creek, which flows into Ballona Creek and to the sea.

As a precaution, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health warned swimmers and surfers to stay out of ocean water a quarter of a mile north and south of the Ballona Creek outlet.

Advisories were posted along the beach from Topsail Street in Venice to the Culver storm drain at Dockweiler State Beach, which is expected to remain closed until at least 4 p.m. Thursday.

Workers responded to a report  of sewage bubbling out of a manhole at Edward Vincent Jr. Park about 6:30 a.m., said Inglewood Deputy City Manager Darryl Brown.

Within two hours, city and county crews stopped the spill, caused by grease buildup in a 12-inch pipeline, he said. Workers used sandbags and pumps to keep about 11,200 gallons of effluent from emptying into the storm drain system.

“It appears that nothing got downstream and into the ocean,” Brown said. “We contained and pumped the vast majority, if not all of it.”

Health officials took water samples Tuesday morning to measure bacteria levels. Beaches typically reopen once they pass health tests for two consecutive days.

The volume of Tuesday's spill is small compared with past incidents.

A blockage in a sewer main caused a 500,000-gallon sewage spill in 2010, closing beaches near Ballona Creek for two days.

--Tony Barboza

Map: Stretch of beach closed after sewage spill.

Inglewood Public Works