County health officials announced they were closing two Los Angeles area beaches after needles, condoms and other waste washed ashore and "excessive" bacterial levels were found in the water.
County health officials announced the closure of Dockweiler State Beach on Wednesday after the waste was spotted in sand along the four-mile beach near Los Angeles International Airport. Just south of Dockweiler, El Segundo Beach was closed Thursday after the waste began washing up there.
Officials collected a staggering 200 lbs of waste from the beaches, according to L.A. Sanitation District spokeswoman Tonya Durrell. CBS News reports, "Officials believe it was discharged from a pipeline belonging to the city-owned Hyperion Treatment Plant." The pipeline was brought back online last week.
"It may have been sitting there, and as a result, the heavy rain storm and first flush of all of that may have pushed that matter out into the bay," Durrell said.
The environmental group Heal the Bay tweeted a photo of a tampon washed up on the beach.
"We've seen people go out there with their surfboards right now this morning and that's really not a good idea," Heal the Bay's Leslie Griffin told CBS Los Angeles.
Matthew King, a Heal the Bay spokesman is concerned about continued contamination, and "admonished members of the public for flushing needles and other debris down toilets, saying those items belong in the trash."
"It's going to wind up in the ocean and turn our valuable resource into a cesspool," he said. "Who knows what's still lurking in the water."