Sewage spill closes O.C. beach for July 4th

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. Officials say beachgoers are allowed to go in the sand above the high tide watermark, but they're not allowed to enter the water.

Friday, a sewer main busted and caused a 3,000-gallon spill near the intersection of Ridge Route and Newport Coast Drive.

The broken main had been leaking about 200 gallons a minute, according to a spokesperson from Irvine Ranch Water District, the company that owns and maintains the line.

The leaky pipe was quickly bypassed, but some of the spilled sewage reached a storm drain in Buck Gulch and necessitated the closure of /*Little Corona Beach*/ by the /*Orange County*/ Health Care Agency's Environmental Health Division.

State law requires beaches to be closed if a sewage spill enters a storm drain and there is no measure to prevent the water from entering the ocean.

There is a 72-hour mandatory closure period, but it's ultimately up to the city to reopen the beach.

The cause of the rupture was not immediately known.

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