Sewage spill shuts down certain LA beaches to swimmers, surfers

It’s a little eerie to see no one in the water on a summer’s day at Dockweiler State Beach, but that was the case on Tuesday. 

The potential danger is just too great after 17 million gallons of sewage were discharged into the ocean, one mile off shore on Sunday. The Hyperion Treatment Plant called it an emergency measure to prevent the plant from discharging much more raw sewage. 

Heal the Bay got the word out quickly on social media after they were notified of the sewage spill. According to Heal the Bay’s CEO, Shelley Luce, it’s the worst spill to happen in a decade along this beach. The group’s Instagram page @healthebay were flooded with comments, questions and opinions. Luce underscored to beachgoers "raw sewage means a high concentration of bacteria and can make people very sick. "

RELATED: 17 million gallons of sewage spills into ocean; beaches between El Segundo, Dockweiler closed

The county and city test the waters routinely, but after Sunday’s spill another test was initiated the following morning. Tuesday afternoon, a health official reported to the LA County Board of Supervisors, that the most recent tests indicated non-hazardous levels of bacteria in the water. A  second test is required within 24 hours before the beaches can safely reopen.

So for now the red signs warning people away from the water remained. But that didn’t stop people from beating the summer heat; many enjoyed walking on the beach, biking or jogging, but they stayed away from the water.

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Heal the Bay officials said they wished Hyperion had gotten the word out sooner on Sunday after the spill, so people knew the water was potentially dangerous to enter. It reportedly took five hours to get the word out to the public. Officials also noted the Hyperion Treatment Sewage Plant had improved its record over the years, citing an incident years ago when both sewage and plastic debris made their way into the ocean. Both present a danger to people and ocean life.

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