Laguna Beach responds to 3,000-gallon sewage spill, avoids beach closures

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A file photo of construction on a section of the North Coast Interceptor near South Coast Highway and Nyes Place. Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

A sewer spill estimated at 3,000 gallons prompted an emergency response in Laguna Beach but didn’t force beach closures on Friday.

Around 8 a.m., Laguna Beach public safety and water quality employees responded to a reported sewage spill near Bayview Place and Temple Hills Drive. However, some city councilmembers were notified as early as 6:45 a.m., said Roger Butow, founder of the nonprofit Clean Water Now.

“The Water Quality Department crews arrived at the scene to see two manholes overflowing. The responders immediately set up the high-pressure cleaning apparatus to unblock the sewer main,” David Shissler, director of water quality for Laguna Beach, wrote in an email to city management and councilmembers.

The sewer main blockage was broken by about 8:55 a.m. and an investigation found tree roots had intruded into the sewer pipe. A diversion basin was opened to capture sewage that entered the storm drain.

Marine Safety staffers also constructed a sand berm on the beach below the storm drain outlet as a precautionary measure.

City officials notified the State’s California Integrated Water Quality System of the spill.

”In a drought, it’s important for everyone to be water-wise,” Butow said. “If you smell something, say something.”

In an unrelated issue, Southern California Edison power dipped in the downtown area causing emergency generators to run at both the Main Beach sewage lift station, Marine Safety Department headquarters, and sewage lift station next to Laguna Beach City Hall. Emergency power kicked on without any disruptions to the wastewater system, Shissler wrote.

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