LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Los Angeles-area beach was closed to the public on Thursday after medical debris and female sanitary products washed ashore, health officials said.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health closed Dockweiler State Beach from Ballona Creek to Grand Avenue in Playa Del Rey around 9 p.m. Wednesday, a closure that was later extended to the area of 45th Street in El Segundo to Ballona Creek.
The move comes after medical waste, including hypodermic needles and tampons, washed on shore.
Health officials say water samples show bacteria levels above state standards. On Thursday, clean-up crews combed the beach and placed the waste in bags.
James Alamillo, urban programs manager at Heal the Bay, told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO he believes runoff from last week’s storm may be to blame.
“Two inches fell in our region, that can cause a lot of flooding and overwhelmed the sewage treatment plant down at Hyperion,” Alamillo said. “What you saw was that a lot of debris or trash, biological material get through the system that would’ve normally get caught.”
A photo posted to Heal The Bay’s Twitter page with a message reading “Swimming not recommended” appeared to show a tampon applicator floating in the water.
“We’ve seen people go out there with their surfboards right now this morning and that’s really not a good idea,” said Leslie Griffin with Heal the Bay.
Environmentalists say this serves as a very visual reminder about the right way to dispose waste.
“Just in general, if you don’t want it out here, don’t put it in your toilet,” Griffin said.
Authorities have not yet provided an update as to when the beach would reopen. The origin of the medical waste remains under investigation.
For more information regarding beach closures, contact the County’s beach closure hotline at (800) 525-5662, or click here.