August 17, 2008

Bacteria Levels Too High to Reopen Beach

By Brenda Duran

LONG BEACH - Officials will continue to keep nearly four miles of beach closed following test results that showed elevated bacteria levels after a sewage spill earlier this week.

On Tuesday, a sewage spill of more than 20,000 gallons was caused by a broken sewer line near Watts that flowed down the Los Angeles River from Compton Creek and affected the beach from Alamitos Avenue to 72nd Place, according to the city.

Helene Calvet, the city's health officer, said officials decided to keep the 3.85 miles of beach closed for all water-based recreation after tests found a high level of "indicator bacteria" called enterococcus in the beach water.

Officials test the water for three types of indicator bacteria: total coliform, fecal coliform and enterococcus. When present, they indicate the possible presence of disease-causing bacteria, viruses or protozoa.

Calvet said repeat tests have been ordered and are expected to be in by midday Friday.

The reopening of the beach will be determined once officials have analyzed the second results, Calvet noted.

For further information on beach closures, call the water department hotline at 562-570-4199 or go to www.long

[email protected], 562-499-1297

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