HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) – A blocked sewer main sent tens of thousands of gallons of sewage spilling into Huntington Harbour in Huntington Beach Thursday, forcing officials to close the waters in the area.

(Orange County Health Care Agency)

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The spill, which started at 10 p.m. Wednesday but was not reported until 2:30 a.m. Thursday, was caused by a blocked sewage main in the city of Stanton, the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) reports.

OCHCA initally reported that 60,000 gallons of sewage had spilled into the harbour’s waters. However, Stanton Mayor David John Shawver later claimed that only about 50,000 gallons of raw sewage entered the storm drain, but it was contained in the drainage channel before it ever reached Huntington Harbour.

The sewage flow went on for more than nine hours before it was corrected, county health officials said.

The closure, meanwhile, applies to the waters around Anaheim Bay, Sunset Aquatic Marina, Portofino Cove, Anderson Street Marina and Mother’s Beach. The area is closed to water contact or water sports until testing deems the water quality is safe again. No word yet on when that will be. The earliest the area could reopen would be Saturday.

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On Thursday, some moms like Kimberly Tulley who took their kids swimming said the signs warning people to stay out of the water weren’t visible enough.

“I didn’t see it, so it’s obviously not a very big sign,” she said. “Not well posted.”

Local resident Donna Cariccio said the spill’s impact is already being felt.

“I’ve seen very few people,” Cariccio said. “It’s so unusual because Labor Day [Weekend] is upon us and this area is usually flooded with people kayaking, paddle boarding.”

“It’s definitely going to effect business a lot because throughout the weekends we do most of the paddle boards and kayaks, we’re just bummed about it,” said the store manager for Huntington Harbour Boat Rentals.

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For more information on the spill, call OCHCA at 714-433-6400.