On Monday, Long Beach City Health Officer, Dr Anissa Davis, ordered all recreational swimming areas temporarily closed for water contact due to two separate sewage spills.
According to a press release from the City of Long Beach, approximately five million gallons of sewage was discharged, the majority of which entered the Dominguez Channel leading into the Port of Long Beach.
Sewage had also leaked into the Compton Creek leading to the Los Angeles River, the release added.
In addition to the spill in Rancho Dominguez – located between Compton and Long Beach – another 40,000 gallons of sewage were reported to have spilled in the City of Commerce.
The additional spill also flowed into the Los Angeles River, compounding the environmental impact and posing further concerns for the affected areas, city officials said.
It comes following biblical flooding throughout California, which has hit major cities such as Los Angeles, brought on by record rainfall in parts of the state.
State law requires temporary closure and posting at beaches in such situations, out of an abundance of caution, until the water quality meets state requirements, the Long Beach city press release stated.
Among the areas closed by officials was the Cabrillo Beach Ocean Waters in San Pedro. The beach will remain closed until officials can conduct bacterial testing, officials said.
“These spills occurred early this morning, prompting immediate action from local authorities,” the city’s statement read.
“The exact cause of the sewage spills is currently under investigation, with capacity issues due to heavy rains and potential sewer damage being considered as possible factors.”
A rain advisory was previously issued last week, which was followed by the closure of bay swimming areas on 2 February due to separate sewage spills, both of which remain in effect.
“Given the severity of this new sewage spill, a mandatory closure of all swimming areas is now in place. City workers are actively posting signage along the coastline to notify beachgoers of the closure and to ensure public safety,” the statement read.
The severe wet weather is expected to continue impacting California until Thursday or Friday.
Multiple people have been killed as the storm has battered the west coast, from both falling trees and flash flooding.
California’s Office of Emergency Management said a person had died after a vehicle was swept away in a flood channel. An individual died while trying to cross the US-Mexico border across the Tijuana River.
The storm, caused by a massive atmospheric river, has led to one of the wettest two-day periods in southern California’s record.