About 400,000 gallons of acidic treated wastewater was discharged into the ocean off the coast of San Pedro due to maintenance work at a Terminal Island treatment plant, county health officials confirmed Wednesday, but the release did not contribute to elevated bacteria levels at nearby Cabrillo State Beach.
The Department of Public Health on Tuesday issued a warning about high bacteria levels at Inner Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, but health officials insisted Wednesday that the wastewater discharge was unrelated. They noted that bacteria levels at Inner Cabrillo Beach have exceeded state standards for the past five days.
The spill of treated wastewater occurred just before 1 p.m. Tuesday, according to the county. The wastewater was discharged through a one-mile outflow pipe “due to a maintenance flush” at the Terminal Island Water Reclamation Plant in San Pedro.
Health officials said that acidity levels were affected in the ocean water at the site of the discharge, but due to the distance of the discharge from shore and the ocean currents, it did not contribute to bacterial conditions at Inner Cabrillo Beach.
Health officials noted that the earlier bacterial warning was still in place at Inner Cabrillo Beach, and people were being urged to avoid the water in that area until the warning is lifted.
“Public Health is committed to ensuring beach goers and communities are informed about water quality levels, and while this incident did not cause water quality to exceed acceptable levels, Public Health will continue warning beach-goers when water quality levels exceed health standards,” Dr. Muntu Davis, the county health officer, said in a statement.
Barbara Romero, executive director of the city Sanitation Department, which runs the Terminal Island plant, said the discharge of wastewater “is no cause for alarm.”
“At no time did this incident pose a threat to the public nor impact the existing bacterial level at the beach,” Romero said in a statement.