L.A. County closed multiple beaches surrounding Dockweiler State Beach and El Segundo Beach Monday after a 17 million gallon sewage spill made its way into the ocean.

According to the L.A.-run Hyperion Water Reclamation plant, the sewage spill was caused by excessive debris backing up its headworks facilities Sunday.

The sewage discharged into the Santa Monica Bay for eight hours, making its way 5 miles offshore.

“The Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant became inundated with overwhelming quantities of debris, causing backup of the headworks facilities,” L.A. Sanitation and Environment said in a statement. “We are investigating the cause of the debris and repairing damaged equipment.”

L.A. Sanitation added that the spill could have been worse and emergency measures were taken to mitigate the raw sewage flow.

Both L.A. Public Health and Hyperion staff have collected samples of the beach’s water, and a reopening cannot occur until the samples are “confirmed negative for bacteria.”

“Beach users are advised to stay out of the water until the advisory is removed,” L.A. Public Health said in a media release Monday.

It is expected that lab results will be returned within a day and an update on the beach closures will be made. Until then, Public Health is urging beach-goers to stay away.

LA Weekly