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Orange County Digest / Local News in Brief

Laguna Beach : Nature Helps Cleanup of Aliso Sewage Spill

June 28, 1989

With continued heavy surf and hot weather helping to dissipate a sewage spill that has closed Aliso Beach since last week, a mile-long quarantine area could be cut in half by this afternoon, a county health official said Tuesday.

Authorities said they were optimistic that only a small portion of the popular beach would remain closed through the July 4 holiday weekend.

For the sixth straight day, the beach remained off limits to bathers from Treasure Island Point on the northwest to Table Rock on the southeast, with signs posted and lifeguards turning away beach-goers.

An aging, 21-inch sewage line ruptured last Thursday, causing raw effluent to spill into Aliso Creek and flow into the sea north of the fishing pier before crews hired by the South Coast Water District repaired the line.

Mike Wehner, chief of the county health department's water quality program, said recent tests have indicated that outlying sections of the spill are quickly returning to normal, but the ocean near the mouth of the creek remains highly contaminated.

Officials with South Coast Water District said they received an emergency permit Tuesday from the California Coastal Commission to replace a 450-foot section of the concrete pipe.

Although temporary repairs were made to stave off the flow of sewage, agency officials think that more extensive work is necessary to ensure that other sections of the pipeline do not burst, said Linda Jones, the district's assistant general manager. Jones said the work would probably take from three to four weeks.

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