Connecting Waterpeople

California city inundated by millions of gallons of waste

  • California city inundated by millions of gallons of waste

An estimated 8.5 million gallons of raw sewage has flooded a neighbourhood in the city of Carson, in Los Angeles county, reports The Guardian.

A few months after the town was seized by a putrid smell from a chemical spill, inhabitants of Carson have awoken to discover streets and sidewalks scattered with toilet paper, faeces and toxic residue. Health officials have also closed several beaches temporarily pending water quality tests, informs Yahoo!

Beaches, including Cabrillo Beach, Point Fermin Beach, Royal Palms State Beach, Rancho Palos Verdes Beach, Seal Beach and White Point Park Beach, will stay closed until bacteria levels return to state standards, said health officials.

A 60-year old sewer line, which was due to be replaced within the year, collapsed on December 30, following an intense rainstorm in the region and gushed sewage into the Dominguez Channel, a 15-mile flood-control waterway, that leads into Los Angeles Harbour. Officials have stated that the spill is not a threat to public health and property.

In a statement, Los Angeles County Sanitation District said: “We will be working with health officials over the coming days to monitor water quality to determine when beaches are safe to reopen and assess environmental impacts.

"Our top priority is the health and safety of the impacted communities and we will continue our efforts until all health and environmental issues are addressed."

Janice Hahn, LA county supervisor has ordered a full investigation into the source of the spill, which is the largest on record for the area.

“A sewage spill of this magnitude is dangerous and unacceptable, and we need to understand what happened,” Hahn said in a statement. “The recent storm undoubtedly contributed to the spill but we need infrastructure that doesn’t fail when it rains.”

Los Angeles County Sanitation District has informed that its personnel are working to repair the pipe, but that the spill has been detained. The areas of the neighbourhood affected have also been cleaned and it will reimburse residents for car washes. 

The city of Carson was also the victim of another environmental disaster in 2021 when an overpowering odour emanated from the Dominguez Channel, which residents described as “the stench of death”. The smell was so overpowering it caused headaches, respiratory problems and other health problems according to The Guardian. Officials have attributed the odor to a warehouse fire that leeched chemicals into the 15-mile canal, killing plants and unleashing high amounts of hydrogen sulfide, also known as sewer gas.

The LA Sanitation District has announced that plans are in place to “slip-line” the pipe, a process where a smaller 42-inch corrosion-resistant pipe is placed inside the 48-inch sewer. However, the necessary components will not arrive until later in the week. 

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