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SEAL BEACH : Pollution Warning Signs to Be Re-Posted

November 10, 1994|RUSS LOAR

Signs warning surfers about polluted waters near the mouth of the San Gabriel River will again be posted near the popular surfing spot, two months after the city took down a similar sign posted by the Surfrider Foundation.

This time, the signs will stay.

The original sign said, "Surf With Caution!" It was removed by the Recreation Department because it was not an officially sanctioned sign.

The city recently ordered replacement signs with identical wording. But the new signs will bear the logos of both the city and the Surfrider Foundation. Parks and recreation director Andy Seymour expects to post the new signs by next week.

"It's the first time the city has included another entity in sharing the logo spot on a sign," Seymour said. "The Surfrider Foundation has worked hard gathering pollution data and I certainly recognize that their credibility is high with those that surf."

The signs will warn surfers that the San Gabriel River is an outlet for thousands of storm drains throughout Southern California.

With the coming of the rainy season, said physician and Surfrider Foundation activist Gordon Labedz, the warning signs are critical. Rain washes pollutants ranging from pesticides to paint thinner into the San Gabriel River.

"There's so much pavement in Los Angeles that nothing soaks into the ground," said Labedz, a Seal Beach resident who gets up at dawn most mornings to surf. "Everything comes into our storm drains and dumps out into the ocean."

Just a light drizzle on Saturday produced bacteria levels in waters off Seal Beach that exceeded safety limits, according to county health officials. The city and the Surfrider Foundation recommend that surfers wait 72 hours after even small amounts of rain before entering local waters.

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