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Pollution Alert: Avoid the Beaches for 72 Hours

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Trash found near a Ballona Creek storm drain outlet | Photo via Heal the Bay
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This cool weather has brought Southern California its first significant rainfall after a long drought period and that means stay away from the beach water, says Heal the Bay. That's because the county's 2,800-mile storm drain system, which is meant to prevent local flooding on rainy days, also moves pollution into the Santa Monica and San Pedro bays.

"After heavy rains, more than 70 major outfalls in the Los Angeles basin spew manmade debris, animal waste, pesticides, automotive fluids and human-gastrointestinal viruses into the marine ecosystem. This pollution poses human health risks, harms marine life and dampens the tourist economy by littering shorelines," explained the non-profit in a news release. "Debris and toxins that have been accumulating for months on sidewalks, roadways and riverbeds and are now being washed into the storm drains. Exposure to this runoff can cause a variety of illnesses, most frequently stomach flu."