Health officials closed several Southern California beaches after a massive sewage spill last week reached swimming areas. Beaches in Los Angeles County and the city of Long Beach were closed temporarily pending water quality tests

“We will be working with health officials over the coming days to monitor water quality to determine when beaches are safe to reopen and assess environmental impacts,” the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts said in a statement. “Our top priority is the health and safety of the impacted communities and we will continue our efforts until all health and environmental issues are addressed.”

The spill was first reported on December 30 after a sewer collapsed in the city of Carson, following an intense rainstorm in the region. Officials said there was no threat to public health and property, but said untreated wastewater and sewage overflowed into a nearby storm drain, went through the Dominguez Channel and emptied into the Los Angeles Harbor. 

A Seal Beach Municipal Pier warns visitors to stay out of the water. 

Myung J. Chun

An estimated 7 million gallons of sewage spilled before crews were able to stop the spill on Friday. Crews continued to work to complete the permanent fix to the collapsed sewer and are cleaning areas affected by the spill. 

Closure signs were placed at all beaches affected by the spill and residents were advised to completely avoid any contact with ocean water that may have come into contact with the waste. 

Beaches, including Cabrillo Beach, Point Fermin Beach, Royal Palms State Beach, Rancho Palos Verdes Beach, Seal Beach and White Point Park Beach, will stay closed until bacteria levels return to state standards, according to health officials

“A sewage spill of this magnitude is dangerous and unacceptable and we need to understand what happened,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn. “I am calling on L.A. County Sanitation District to do a full investigation into the cause of the spill and whether aging or faulty infrastructure was involved.”