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Long Beach sewage spill keeps swimmers out of water

July 27, 2009 |  9:35 pm

Me-closedbeach1 A sewage spill forced the closure of several beaches in Long Beach today, but city officials said they didn’t expect the problem to last more than one or two days.

The spill occurred Sunday when two pumps failed in the Bixby Terrace neighborhood, sending about 1,000 gallons of sewage into Los Cerritos Channel, according to Dr. Fred Herman, the city’s public health physician. The source was capped sometime overnight, but not before sewage was on its way into Los Alamitos Bay.

The city Department of Health and Human Services has posted signs warning people to stay out of the water at Mother’s Beach, Marine Stadium and Colorado Lagoon, Herman said.  The signs will be removed when test results show that the water quality has returned to safe levels.

Me-closedbeach2Long Beach has a history of frequent sewage discharges into the ocean. They are generally caused by spills in upstream cities that enter the Los Angeles and San Gabriel rivers. Herman said Sunday’s spill was unusual because it originated in the city of Long Beach.

He said the pumps that failed were maintained by a private neighborhood association. 

-- Mitchell Landsberg

Photos: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times