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Water Advisory for Santa Monica Beaches Lifted
By Jorge Casuso
July 30, 2021 -- As the crippled Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant continues spilling partially treated wastewater into the ocean, Los Angeles County Health officials on Friday lifted water quality warnings at Santa Monica beaches.
The advisory had been issued for the area around the Santa Monica Pier, the Montana Avenue storm drain at North Tower 8 and the Wilshire Boulevard storm drain at North Tower 12.
County Health officials on noted that "no untreated sewage is currently being discharged into the ocean.
They added that "ocean waters bacterial levels often fluctuate from day to day and can be impacted by recent rain events."
An investigation by the Los Angeles Times published Friday found that "the damaged facility has continued to release millions of gallons of partially treated wastewater into the Pacific Ocean, in violation of its environmental permit."
Since an emergency discharge on July 11 and 12 sent 17 million gallons of raw sewage into Santa Monica Bay, "the facility has violated multiple state and federal water pollution limits," the Times reported.
"Each day, the plant discharges 260 million gallons of wastewater into the ocean through a five-mile pipe about 12 feet in diameter," according to the article.
"State regulators and environmental experts say that because the wastewater is not fully treated, it could harm people and marine life," the Times wrote.
According to a report prepared by a private contractor for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the County Health Department was in large part to blame for failing to notify the public more quickly about the spill.
It was the workers at the Hyperion Plant operated by the city of Los Angeles’ sanitation department who followed protocol that saved the plant from a “near miss,” according to the report released Tuesday.
The discharge at the plant located in Playa del Rey began Sunday evening, July 11, and lasted until 4:30 a.m. Monday.
According to to officials, the emergency discharge was the largest in decades at the plant, which began operating in the 1920s.
Dockweiler and El Segundo beaches, which are closest to the plant, were closed.
On Friday, County Health officials reported that the affected beach areas were still exceeding state standards for bacteria in water.
Public Health "continues cautioning residents who are planning to visit several Los Angeles County beaches, including beaches near Hyperion, to be careful of swimming, surfing, and playing in ocean waters around discharging storm drains, creeks, and rivers," according to the update issued Friday.
Recorded information on beach conditions is available 24- hours a day on the County’s beach closure
hotline: 1-800- 525-5662. Information is also available online at Public Health’s websiteat PublicHealth.LACounty.gov/Beach/.
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