First Medical Waste Torments the L.A. Shoreline, Now a Body Is Found

Playa del Rey
Playa del Rey
Bill Lancaster/Flickr

It's been a rough fall so far for coastal dwellers between Playa del Rey and Manhattan Beach.

First medical waste, including needles, condoms and tampon applicators, washed ashore, closing Dockweiler State Beach and more from Wednesday to Saturday.

Now authorities say human remains have been discovered near the Playa del Rey shore. There's no indication the events are related.

The body was "found near [the] Pacific shore" in Ballona Creek about 7:04 p.m. Sunday, said Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

L.A. County lifeguards were working on pulling the body from the water, he said. 

"The victim was located in a rocky area of the water," Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Gordon said in a statement.

Sheriff's homicide investigators took over the case, although it's not clear yet if this is officially a homicide. News reports indicated the body belongs to a man and that boaters first spotted the remains.

At 6:20 p.m. Wednesday, county officials shut down the beach from Ballona Creek to Grand Avenue in El Segundo after medical waste washed ashore, mostly along Dockweiler State Beach.

On Thursday evening, the closure expanded south to 45th Street in Manhattan Beach after debris was found at El Porto, a popular surf spot.

Cleanup crews picked up at least 200 pounds of debris and, as bacteria levels in the water tested at acceptable levels, the beaches were reopened Saturday afternoon.

Los Angeles city officials say a switch from a five-mile outfall pipe to a one-mile pipe for the Hyperion Treatment Plant might have caused the medical-waste spill: The one-mile pipe hadn't been used in a decade or so, and there could have been a buildup of old waste. 

The switch was made to repair and upgrade the five-mile pipe.

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