4 Los Angeles County beaches remain under high bacteria warning – Published 11/19/2011
Dramatic bacterial contamination of Los Angeles County beaches continued Tuesday, with two beaches still reporting high bacteria counts, including the popular Pacific Beach and El Paseo.
The bacteria in the water came from a local sewage water plant that was shut down in November and replaced by a new plant that should not produce bacterial waste.
The new treatment plant opened Thursday and is being operated by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), a contractor for the county water department.
But officials said the replacement plant is not fully operational, as it has been since Dec. 1.
“While the plant has been operational for many weeks, it has been producing bacterial levels that are several times higher than on Nov. 30,” said Tom Wydner, the water department’s acting director. “We know of one site in particular — the El Paseo — where this is a problem.”
Water contamination of beaches and swimming pools along this coast reached a new high Tuesday morning. The Pacific Beach water plant is currently producing sewage water that could contain hundreds of “coliforms,” a bacteria that cause disease.
“The water that comes from the sewage water plant is not clear and has a green appearance,” said Dr. Jeff Anderson, a Southern California Public Health Department expert on pollution and aquatic ecosystems. “The plant does not have equipment to filter this water.”
The bacteria in the water have left some beaches in high alert, some with restrictions and water quality advisories.
Some of the most affected beaches are the beaches that are served by the sewage water plant, but not by the public sewage treatment plant. These are the beaches that can’t be reached by water from the sewage water plant.
In addition to this problem, the El Paseo sewage water plant’s wastewater