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Condoms, Needles And Other Gnarly Waste Washed Up On Dockweiler State Beach

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Ew...Dockweiler Beach (Photo by Karol Franks via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Instead of empty beer cans and beach bonfire remnants, visitors to Dockweiler State Beach yesterday encountered hypodermic needles, condoms and tampon applicators.

Officials first received reports of the medical waste spotted in the water and along the shoreline between near LAX on Wednesday, reports ABC7. The L.A. County Public Health Department then tested the waters in the area and found bacteria levels that exceeded state standards, prompting them to post warning signs and close the beach from Ballona Creek to Grand Avenue.

Crews worked through the night to clear the debris, but the beach will remain closed until further notice. Tonya Durrell, L.A. City spokeswoman, tells the L.A. Times that the waste was not toxic and "does not pose a threat to the public."

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The condoms, needles and other waste are believed to have come from the nearby wastewater treatment facility, Hyperion Treatment Plant, according to the nonprofit environmental group Heal the Bay. The group says thatlast week's storm prompted the plant to divert roughly 200 million gallons of wastewater into a mile long sewage pipe. According to ABC7, treated waste is ordinarily discharged five miles offshore by Hyperion, but that pipeline was being repaired. Waste that had been trapped in the one-mile pipeline—which may have burst—and was discharged into the Santa Monica Bay, according to Heal The Bay. The cause of the spill, however, is still under investigation.

The L.A. County Fire Department has asked that the public stay out of the water in the area until further notice and avoid contact with wet sand and any debris along the shoreline. Beachgoers are also advised to steer clear of Mothers Beach in Playa Del Rey and Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades.