Map of Laguna Beach State Marine Conservation Area. Photo credit:

Regional water officials have approved a $1.5 million penalty for the city of Laguna Beach stemming from a raw sewage spill into Aliso Creek and the ocean two years ago.

City officials agreed to pay $785,780 in fines, in addition to contributing $748,278 over the next three years to a project designed to prevent similar spills.

“It’s encouraging to see these funds applied to wastewater infrastructure improvements,” said Chiara Clemente, enforcement coordinator for the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board.

The spill happened during a stormy Thanksgiving weekend in 2019 when a relief valve ruptured, allowing wastewater to flow at the Laguna Beach State Marine Conservation Area, and ultimately into the creek and ocean.

The spill flowed for three days, leading to pollution from 1.7 million gallons of sewage.

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