Last updated: 04:51 PM ET, Fri July 22 2016

Sewage Spill Forces Closure of Popular SoCal Beaches

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | July 22, 2016

Sewage Spill Forces Closure of Popular SoCal Beaches

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.

A massive sewage spill in Los Angeles has created some major headaches for tourists visiting Southern California's famous beaches this week. 

CBS News reported that a pipe buried 18 feet underground in downtown Los Angeles collapsed earlier this week, resulting in a blockage that prompted roughly 2.4 billion gallons of raw sewage to spill onto nearby streets and into storm drains.

Despite happening several miles away, beaches in places like Long Beach, California, were closed to swimmers this week while health officials worked to test the waters for harmful bacteria. 

The assistant director of L.A. Sanitation Adel Hagekhalil told CBS News that the sewage flow was stopped Tuesday and crews were in the process of constructing an above-ground bypass system to allow for repairs and cleanup efforts.

Although crews managed to contain roughly 750,000 gallons following the spill, the remaining sewage made it into the Los Angeles River and officials fear that some of it may have poured into the Pacific Ocean.

Therefore, visitors to many popular SoCal beaches were met with warning signs and told by lifeguards to avoid going in the ocean.

Prior to Monday's spill, the pipe in question had been scheduled to be replaced in two years' time. The pipe dated back to 1929. However it's unclear what caused it to collapse. 

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