The City of Long Beach collected samples of seawater from local beaches on Monday, Dec 28. to test the levels of contamination left by a massive sewage leak that occurred Saturday, Dec. 26. Results from the tested samples are expected tomorrow, according to Judeth Luong, Environmental Health Bureau Manager for the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services.
The spill originated in Long Beach when a pump station experienced a loss of power on Dec. 26 and dumped approximately 50,000 gallons of sewage into the Los Cerritos Channel.
The water will continue to be tested regularly until it is deemed safe by state standards.
Until then, all recreational marine water in Long Beach will be closed to the public.
Regardless of the results, a 72-hour rain advisory has also been issued for beaches in Long Beach due to ongoing rains from Dec. 28. When it rains, contaminants and debris from the streets are washed into storm drains, eventually leading to the ocean and causing a spike in bacteria levels. During these times, beachgoers are cautioned against having contact with the water.
Residents can check the City’s website for daily updates on beach closures and advisories.
“We collected samples today, we’ll get the results tomorrow. If some of the beach sites’ results are good then we can open those areas up, but it’s still under a rain advisory, and so it could take a few days to clean the water and to get good results. I can’t tell you exactly, but I would guess best estimate would probably be maybe some can open tomorrow but some it may take a few days,” Luong told the Signal Tribune.
According to NASA, sewage spills in coastal waters can lead to oxygen depletion and carry hazardous bacteria.
When asked if the current water conditions would affect marine life, Luong responded that they likely would.
“When there’s a lot of urban runoff and just the water quality is not as good, then yes, it typically does,” Luong said in regards to water conditions affecting wildlife.