Sewage Spill Closes Beaches- Mop Top Found at Fault

A major sewage spill that has closed a two-mile stretch of beach near Marina del Rey released about 500,000 gallons of raw sewage into a storm drain that runs to Ballona Creek into the ocean.According to the Los Angeles Times, the spill ranks among the worst in the last two years along the Los Angeles County coastline. The beach will probably remain closed for a minimum of three days.

Residents reported a manhole overflowing with sewage near Centinela Avenue and Sepulveda Boulevard about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, said Ron Charles, spokesman for the Los Angeles Public Works Department.

A press release from the City of Culver City noted that  on Sept. 29, at approximately 2:20 p.m., Culver City was notified by the City of Los Angeles of a sewer overflow from a City of LA owned-and-operated trap maintenance manhole located on the hillside southwesterly of the 6100 block of Centinela Avenue in the City of LA. Culver City crews immediately mobilized and arrived at the spill location at approximately 2:40 p.m. to provide assistance to the City of LA by diverting flow from Culver City’s pump station and beginning containment procedures including creating a containment berm utilizing sandbags, and using a sewer vacuum truck to vacuum the sewage and return it to the sewage system. After diverting Culver City’s flow, the spill continued due to City of LA flow from a 12” City of LA sewer main that also connects to the manhole. Culver City continued this containment effort until the City of LA determined the cause of the spill and restored the flow to normal operation.

What was the cause of this epic sewage spill, tainting the creek and closing the beach? Based on information provided by the City of LA to Culver City, debris consisting of (but not limited to) rags and a mop head, was lodged in the City of LA trap located in the trap maintenance manhole.

The spill originated from a City of LA manhole and flowed down the adjacent City of LA unimproved hillside.  A substantial portion of the spill infiltrated into the unimproved hillside, eroding the hillside before entering into a storm drain opening located in the City of LA approximately 600 feet from the manhole.  Beaches were closed by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health as a precautionary measure.  Culver City Public Works Department contacted the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) to verify that the City of LA had provided sufficient notification of the spill.
CalEMA verified receiving notification and confirmed that all applicable regulatory agencies were also notified.  The CalEMA control number for the spill is 10-5872.

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