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News

So Gross: Avalon's Sewage System Leaks 'Human Waste' Onto Its Beaches

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Photo by Derek Cross Photography via the LAist Featured Photos pool
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If you're heading 26 miles to Santa Catalina any time soon, you might want to stay out of the water near Avalon.

The Los Angeles Times has a story about the effort to clean up the "deceptively clear" but "chronically polluted" beaches of Avalon. The culprit? Ailing infrastructure that's leaking human waste:


Avalon's main beach, which beckons to those who stroll along the city pier and the promenade of gift shops, restaurants and hotels, routinely fails state-mandated health tests and has ranked among the dirtiest in California for most of the last decade. Scientists years ago identified the cause of Avalon's water woes: human waste leaking from the city's century-old sewer system. The sewage seeps into the groundwater and drains into the town's enclosed bay, putting swimmers at risk of contracting serious stomach illness, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, rashes and infections.


Some of the locals swear the water is fine and that they never get sick. But the city approved a $6 million project that hopes to fix and update those sewer lines—and hopefully finish it by the time mainlanders head over to the island for summer vacation.