Multiple Failures Found After Massive Sewage Spill Into Santa Monica Bay

"Multiple failures in communication between Los Angeles city and county agencies delayed crucial public warnings and a full emergency response to a massive sewage discharge earlier this month at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, according to a report obtained by The Times that was discussed Tuesday by county officials.

The report provides new details regarding plant flooding and the evacuation of staff just before an hours-long discharge of 17 million gallons of raw sewage into the waters off Dockweiler and El Segundo beaches July 11 and 12. The findings also show that key city and county first responders, including fire and lifeguard personnel, were not informed that the emergency incident had occurred until hours later.

“The handling of this [sewage] release and the necessary public notification were failures,” said the seven-day after-action report prepared by a private contractor for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

The Times previously reported that county public health officials waited hours to inform the public to avoid swimming in the areas exposed to the sewage release and that lifeguards found out only after seeing county workers posting closure signs at the beach, findings that were corroborated by the report."

Robert J. Lopez reports for the Los Angeles Times July 27, 2021.

Source: LA Times, 07/29/2021