CA - Sewage Closes Beach, O.C. Now Has As Many Closures in 2000 As It Had In All of 1999! : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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Sewage closes beach ENVIRONMENT: O.C. now has as many closures in 2000 as it had in all of 1999.

May 10, 2000

By PAT BRENNAN The Orange County Register

A sewage spill closed about three-fourths of a mile of beach Tuesday, including part of Huntington Beach, after a broken sewer pipe sent waste bubbling up a manhole, through storm drains and into the ocean.

The early-morning pipe break at an Orange County Sanitation District pumping station in Costa Mesa leaked between 3,000 and 5,000 gallons of raw sewage before it was stopped about 6 a.m., district and county health officials said.

The amount of leakage was considered moderate, said Monica Mazur of the Orange County Health Care Agency. The beach likely will remain closed for two to three days, until bacterial levels drop back to normal.

An earlier posting on part of Huntington Beach, unrelated to the sewage spill, also remained in effect Tuesday, Mazur said. Such postings warn of increased bacteria but do not result in beach closure.

The sewage spill is the year's first major instance of contamination affecting Huntington Beach, much of which was closed last summer because of a still-mysterious bacterial leak.

But it was the 22nd Orange County beach closure this year, the same number that affected the county in all of 1999. While the closures do not appear to be related, they have increased worries among activists and the public about sewer breaks and toxic urban runoff.

Because Tuesday's leak affected only a portion of Huntington State Beach, no negative effects on tourism were expected, Huntington Beach spokesman Rich Barnard said.

Such spills emphasize the importance of limiting pollution upstream from beaches, he said.

"The public will hopefully realize the connection between what happens down the coast and what happens inland," he said.

The city will conduct a second "dye test" today, part of an investigation into the source of last year's bacterial contamination.

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-- (, May 10, 2000

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