West Coast
Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times

CA - Coastal residents sue LA over massive sewage spill into Santa Monica Bay

In July, a backup caused by debris forced officials to use an emergency discharge procedure, sending a flood of raw sewage into Santa Monica Bay. The L.A. County Department of Public Health issued a health advisory and urged people to avoid swimming in areas around Dockweiler State Beach and El Segundo Beach.

LOS ANGELES — More than 100 people living in and around El Segundo have filed a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles accusing it of exposing them to toxic hydrogen sulfide gas and other dangers during and after a sewage spill last year at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant.

In July, a backup caused by debris forced officials to use an emergency discharge procedure, sending a flood of raw sewage into Santa Monica Bay. The L.A. County Department of Public Health issued a health advisory and urged people to avoid swimming in areas around Dockweiler State Beach and El Segundo Beach.

For more than two weeks after the initial 17-million-gallon discharge, the damaged L.A. Sanitation and Environment Department plant — the city's oldest and largest sewage treatment facility — continued to release millions of gallons of partially treated wastewater into the Pacific Ocean, a Times investigation found.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleges that "responsible monitoring would have identified both the volume and source of any debris before it reached Hyperion" and that officials have yet to identify either.

Many residents who lived near the spill were sickened by noxious odors, court documents said.

Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for the L.A. city attorney's office, said Wednesday that officials were reviewing the complaint but had no further comment. L.A. Department of Public Works spokeswoman Elena Stern said she could not comment on pending litigation.

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