A stretch of coastline in Southern California that was shut down after debris including condoms, feminine hygiene products and syringes washed ashore was extended further south Thursday.
County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health initially warned beachgoers to stay out of the water from Grand Avenue in El Segundo to Ballona Creek in Marina Del Rey until further tests were completed. On Thursday, the closure stretched down to 45th street in Manhattan Beach.
Crews were cleaning up the debris Wednesday night, and returned the following morning to continue. Closure signs were posted in the area from Ballona Creek to Grand Avenue at Dockweiler State Beach.
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While maintenance on a pipe that normally dumps treated sewage five miles out in the ocean was being completed, officials switched pipes to a shorter one about one mile out. Runoff from last week’s storm flushed the debris out to sea, and much of it was returning to shore due to the tides.
Los Angeles sanitation officials said the debris was non-toxic and non-hazardous,
But Heal the Bay warned that bacteria levels were very high in test results.
"The origin of the debris is being investigated," said Tonya Durrell of the Los Angeles Department of Public Works. "We still don't know for sure."
Viewers wrote in to NBC4 that Hazmat crews were on the beach recommending residents not go in the water.
Another NBC4 viewer said they were walking along the shore in Playa Del Rey and saw "thousands" of plastic tampon applicators in the sand.
The city says it is highly unlikely that the debris came from the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, which is stationed along the coast, in between the beaches affected. Heal The Bay however, said in a press release that the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant is to blame for the debris.
According to Heal the Bay, recent rains overflowed the plant’s system, releasing debris into the water.
"[The rain] was definitely unexpected," Leslie Griffin, Heal the Bay, said. "Apparently there was a quantity of these objects that were trapped in the one mile outfall that flushed out with that rain."
Griffin said there's a disgusting reason beachgoers are finding feminine hygiene products.
"If it wasn't flushed down the drain, we wouldn't have the issue out in the bay," Griffin said.
Gordon Tokumatsu contributed to this report.