Seal Beach Huntington Beach
A sign warns swimmers after the city of Long Beach closed beaches due to a report of a spill of possibly two to four million gallons of untreated sewage into a canal in Carson on Dec. 31. REUTERS/David Swanson

The Orange County Health Care Agency Saturday expanded the ocean water closure area off limits to swimmers due to a massive spill of untreated sewage in the Dominguez Channel.

The waters of Seal Beach’s Surfside Beach and Huntington Beach’s Sunset Beach now are also closed for water activities, health officials said.

Beaches have been closed around the ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach while authorities try to determine how extensive the spill is.

Health officials have estimated, on the low end, a spill from 2 to 4 million gallons, but believe it could be as high as 8.5 million gallons.

The beaches will not reopen for swimming, surfing and other water-related activities until water quality levels meet acceptable standards. Sanitation crews were working in Los Angeles and Long Beach to clean up the immediately impacted areas.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn asked for a full investigation into how the spill occurred.

“A sewage spill of this magnitude is dangerous and unacceptable and we need to understand what happened,” Hahn wrote in a statement released Friday. “The recent storm undoubtedly contributed to the spill but we need infrastructure that doesn’t fail when it rains. I am calling on L.A. County Sanitation Districts to do a full investigation into the cause of the spill and whether aging or faulty infrastructure was involved.”

Information about Orange County ocean, bay and harbor postings and closures can be obtained online or by calling 714-433-6400.

– City News Service

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