Sewage Spill Shutters OC's Poche Beach

The contaminated coastal stretch is the target of a clean-up effort

A portion of the Orange County coast notorious for its polluted surf but which has been cleaning up its act recently is closed to Fourth of July beachgoers due to a sewage spill, the Orange County Health Care Agency announced Thursday afternoon.

Until further notice, 600 feet of Poche Beach in San Clemente is off limits to surfers and swimmers, the agency said in a news release issued 3:30 p.m.

The closure stretches between Camino Capstrino and the Shorecliffs Beach Club.

The Pima Deshecha flood-control channel empties into the Pacific at the entrance to Poche Beach.

Run-off from that channel contributed to Poche Beach landing, yearly, on Heal the Bay’s list of Top 10 California Beach Bummers. The Santa Monica-based advocacy group gave the beach an F for summer ocean-water quality every year since 2000 – except for 2005, when it received a D.

But a $3 million ultraviolet filtration system and a concerted effort by city officials to clean up the coastal stretch has helped buoy Poche Beach’s rankings, the Orange County Register reported.

Grades issued to the beach since February have been A, A, A+ and A+.

What caused Thursday’s sewage spill was not immediately known. Officials did not have an estimated time that the beach would reopen.

To report illness you believe may be caused by dirty beach water, call (714) 433-6280.

To report sewage spills, call (714) 433-6419 during business hours or (714) 628-7008 after business hours.

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