Around 250,000 gallons of sewage was spilled into the Los Angeles River on Thursday, causing the closure of seven miles of public beaches, according to local authorities.
The massive spill was caused by a malfunction in equipment used by sanitation maintenance crews on Thursday morning, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts. The malfunction caused a blockage that resulted in an overflow of sewage in the city of Downey, which is about 15 miles from Long Beach, resulting in a spill that reached the Los Angeles River, the release said.
Sewage also overflowed into the streets, says the agency.
The city of Long Beach announced in a news release that all open coastal swimming areas would be temporarily closed due to the spill. The city cited a state law that requires temporary closures until the water quality meets state requirements.
“Water from the Los Angeles River connects to the Pacific Ocean in Long Beach, which means pollution anywhere upriver can affect the coastal waters of the City,” the city said in the release.
Sanitation crews finished their first round of cleaning Friday, but it is unclear when the beaches will reopen. Health authorities with the city of Long Beach are “currently monitoring water quality” on the beaches.
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