Beaches in Los Angeles County and Orange County were closed on New Year’s Eve after a massive raw sewage spill.
The 70th annual Polar Bear Swim in Cabrillo, which was set to take place on New Year’s Day, has been canceled.
Between six and seven million gallons of the untreated sewage poured into the Dominguez Channel on Thursday after a sewer line failed in Carson, Myrtle Beach Online reports.
The channel empties into Los Angeles Harbor.
“The Long Beach city health officer, Dr. Anissa Davis, ordered a temporary closure of all swimming areas of the city’s approximately 7 miles (11.3 kilometers) of beaches,” the report states. “The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health closed Cabrillo, Point Fermin, White Point Park, Royal Palm, and Rancho Palos Verdes beaches. Seal Beach was among areas closed in neighboring Orange County.”
The city of Long Beach advised beachgoers that they should pay close attention to any posted signs.
“For their safety, the community is encouraged to pay close attention to any warning signs posted at the beach,” Long Beach said in a statement.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn told the Los Angeles Times that “a sewage spill of this magnitude is dangerous and unacceptable, and we need to understand what happened.”
“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 this spill and whether aging or faulty infrastructure was involved.”
People visiting the state over the holidays told the Times that they were very disappointed not to be able to dip their toes in the Pacific.
“You come all this way, and you don’t get to play in the sand or the ocean? That doesn’t seem fair,” said Sandi Williams, who had traveled from Massachusetts. “We were so looking forward to this change in scenery, but like everywhere, there’s catastrophe.”