Several California beaches close after sewage spill

As many as 7 million gallons may have discharged into the Dominguez Channel

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Beaches in Los Angeles and Orange counties were shut down after a sewer main line failed, leaking millions of gallons of untreated sewage into the Dominguez Channel, which empties into Los Angeles Harbor.  

After the 48-inch sewer main line located in the city of Carson failed Thursday afternoon, as many as 7 million gallons of sewage may have been discharged into the waterway, forcing officials to temporarily prohibit swimming at several beaches out of an abundance of caution.

The low-end estimate of the spill was 2 million to 4 million gallons and the high-end estimate was 6 million to 7 million gallons.  

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The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health declared a beach closure for Rancho Palos Verdes Beach at Portuguese Bend, Royal Palm Beach, White Point Beach, Wilder Addition Park Beach at Point Fermin and Cabrillo Beach. 

Meanwhile, Long Beach City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis issued a notice that all swimming areas at beaches in the city are temporarily closed. Long Beach has roughly 7 miles of public beach, according to officials.  

Los Angeles County health officials warned that beach users can become ill when in contact with water during a known sewage or chemical spill. 

When beaches are closed, users should "avoid all contact with ocean water in the closure area and where closure signs are posted," the Los Angeles County Department of Health said. 

The release of 2 million to 4 million gallons of untreated sewage into the Dominguez Channel in Carson has forced the closure of some beaches.

The release of 2 million to 4 million gallons of untreated sewage into the Dominguez Channel in Carson has forced the closure of some beaches. (Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images)

In the meantime, Long Beach Health Department’s Water Quality inspection team is monitoring the water quality and will continue to do so "until results comply with State water quality standards," Long Beach officials said.   

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LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn called for an investigation to determine whether the spill was caused by "aging or faulty infrastructure."

"A sewage spill of this magnitude is dangerous and unacceptable, and we need to understand what happened," she said in a statement. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.