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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Regional

Sewage Spill Closes 1,500 Feet of Newport Bay

September 21, 2000

NEWPORT BEACH — About 1,500 feet of Newport Bay was closed to swimmers and divers Wednesday after a pipe blocked by grease sent as much as 700 gallons of raw sewage out a manhole and into the water at the ritzy Balboa Bay Club.

The closing marks the sixth time the ocean off Newport Beach has been tainted by untreated human waste this year.

The water, from the west end of the Balboa Bay Club marina down through part of Bayshore Beach, will remain off limits until bacteria tests show that it meets health standards, said Larry Honeybourne of the county health agency.

"There's a lot of docks in that area, and a little amount of beach," he said. "Obviously, we're concerned about the boat divers that might get in there."

The part of Bayshore Beach affected is known locally as Play Beach because it is a calm, sheltered swimming spot frequented by parents with toddlers. Children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are especially susceptible to getting ill from pathogens found in sewage. Contact with the water could cause gastrointestinal, upper respiratory, eye, ear, nose or throat infections.

The spill was caused by a grease blockage in a private sewer line on the Balboa Bay Club property, said Don Webb, public works director for the city of Newport Beach. It was discovered around 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Attempts to reach Balboa Bay Club officials were unsuccessful.

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