October 13, 2008

Colorado Lagoon Still Closed

By Pamela Hale-Burns

RELATED L.B. council to eye lagoon, Marina Vista Park project

The Colorado Lagoon remained closed on Sunday after a closure was issued Saturday due to a sewage overflow that reached the lagoon.

According to the Health Department, about 1,200 gallons of raw sewage flowed through the storm system and into the lagoon. The overflow was possibly due to a grease plug in the line.

"This one (spill) doesn't affect us too much because it's starting to go into the off season," said Long Beach Lifeguard Capt. Louie Martinet. "But we don't like to see beach closures. We like to see people come out and enjoy the beaches."

This spill is one of several Long Beach has had in this year alone.

According to an annual report released in September, Long Beach has the worst water quality in the state, with spills in January 2008, when 73,000 gallons of raw sewage from a downtown Los Angeles spill ended up in the Los Angeles River. Beaches were closed from Third Place in Alamitos Beach to 72 nd Place on the Peninsula.

In June 2008, 16,000 to 17,000 gallons of sewage spilled in Glendale and flowed down the Los Angeles River, causing the closure of a 1.75-mile stretch west of Belmont Pier.

On July 13, vandals caused a 300 gallon spill that closed Alamitos Bay and Colorado Lagoon for three days.

Also in July, a grease blockage in a sewage pipe lead to a 12,000 gallon leakage that closed Mother's Beach, Marine Stadium, Colorado Lagoon and Alamitos Bay.

Although talks continue on how to improve the quality of Long Beach beach water and prevent sewage spills, quick communication is important.

"The earlier the fire department gets a call for any kind of spill or release, the sooner we can make notifications and the sooner we can start mitigating the damage," Martinet said.

The lagoon will remain closed until tests show that bacteria levels have dropped to levels within state law. Beachgoers are encouraged to always pay close attention to any posted warning signs at the beaches for their safety.

For further information on beach closures, call the water department hotline at 562-570-4199 or visit the Health Department's Web site.

[email protected] or 562-499-1476

Kelly Puente contributed to this story.

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