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Climate and Environment

The Smell Of 17M Gallons Of Sewage Is Still Lingering. Now, Nearby Residents Have Some Options

Two people in fatigues stand on the beach where a red sign warns: Beach Closed For Swimming. Contaminated Water.
U.S. Army National Guard members at Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey on July 13, after the beach was closed to swimming due to the sewage spill.
AFP via Getty Images)
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Remember those L.A beaches that had to close earlier this month when 17 million gallons of raw sewage spilled into the ocean? They opened back up on July 15, when authorities deemed them safe again.

But that doesn't mean everything is back to normal: There's still a lingering and unpleasant odor in the air.

How bad is it? Bad enough in some areas for the city of Los Angeles to offer reimbursements for air conditioning units. That's so residents can keep their windows closed as work continues on cleaning up the wastewater that flooded the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant near LAX.

The details from the city:

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There is a $600 limit per household for homes 1000 square feet or smaller and a $1200 limit per household for homes above 1000 square feet. Receipts will be required within 14 days of purchase. This offer is valid until July 29, 2021 unless otherwise extended in writing by the City of Los Angeles.

Residents in the affected area have another option: up to $182 a day for a hotel room, plus $62 a day for meals and incidentals until July 29.

"The water is untreated and it completely flooded the plant, so as we clean that up, there is some remnant smell," said Elena Stern, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Works and L.A. Sanitation.

"We take our relationship with our neighbors very seriously and we're committed to making their lives as easy and healthy as possible," she said, "so the city taking this action is really the right thing to do."

A map of El Segundo shows in red where residents are eligible for reimbursement.
(Courtesy LA Sanition)

Residents of El Segundo who live within the boundaries of Imperial Highway to the north, El Segundo Boulevard to the south, Vista Del Mar to the west, and Main Street to the east are eligible for the reimbursements.

Read more about the incident and follow up: L.A. City Sanitation Updates

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