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O.C. beaches reopen after major sewage spill

March 29, 2010 |  4:37 pm

A three-mile stretch of Orange County beaches have reopened after being closed for six days because of a major sewage spill.

Orange County health officials instructed lifeguards Monday afternoon to remove signs and allow beach-goers back into the water from the breakwater at Dana Point Harbor to Capistrano Bay Community Beach.

The decision was made after water quality tests met state standards on Saturday and Sunday, officials said.

An underground waste water pipeline in Rancho Santa Margarita ruptured Tuesday afternoon, sending an estimated 500,000 gallons of raw sewage gushing into a creek that empties into the ocean at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point. The spill was one of the largest to reach Southern California waters in several years.

The cracked pipe was repaired by late Friday, Santa Margarita Water District officials said.

An advisory warning of elevated bacterial levels remains in effect for 300 yards south of San Juan Creek at Doheny State Beach, which has long had problems with contamination and has been listed among the 10 filthiest beaches in the state.

-- Tony Barboza