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Orange County

Spill Closes Part of Huntington State Beach

May 28, 2003|Denise M. Bonilla | Times Staff Writer

A 2,000-foot stretch of Huntington State Beach was closed to surfing and swimming Tuesday after health officials discovered a raw sewage spill.

The 1,000-gallon spill, which occurred sometime between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Monday, came from a blocked line in the sewage system of a mobile home park near Newland Street, health officials said.

Waste spilled into a storm drain, which emptied into the ocean, said Larry Honeybourne, program chief for the Orange County Health Care Agency's water quality division.

The beach was closed early Tuesday in a band a thousand feet up and down the beach, centered on the Talbert Channel.

The closure is a precaution and is not caused by elevated bacteria levels at the shoreline, Honeybourne said. But because the spill occurred during high tide, the waste could have been pulled through the marsh when the tide receded.

He characterized the spill as an isolated case and not connected to the mysterious rise in bacteria levels that has forced closures on the beach in recent summers.

Water quality officials did not know the cause of the sewage line blockage or if it had been repaired. Management officials at Huntington by the Sea Mobile Home Park, where the spill occurred, declined comment.

Officials will reopen the beach after two consecutive days of low bacteria levels, Honeybourne said.

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