Sanitation crews will be sampling the water for signs of bacteria to help officials determine when it's safe to reopen beaches.
DOWNEY, Calif. (KABC) -- About 250,000 gallons of sewage spilled into the Los Angeles River Thursday after equipment used by sanitation crews malfunctioned, officials said.
According to the Los Angeles County Sanitation District, the malfunction happened around 9 a.m.. and caused temporary blockage in the sewer.
Sewage then overflowed into the street at Burns Avenue and Rives Avenue in Downey, officials said.
The county said sanitation crews cleared the blockage at 11:20 a.m. and have since been focusing on cleaning up the streets.
The raw sewage eventually reached the Pacific Ocean in Long Beach, prompting Long Beach City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis to order all beaches to close due to the spill.
"Water from the Los Angeles River connects to the Pacific Ocean in Long Beach, which means pollution anywhere upriver can affect the coastal waters of the City," read a statement issued by the city of Long Beach's health department. "Long Beach has approximately seven miles of public beach. The City of Long Beach Health Department's Recreational Water Quality health inspection team is monitoring water quality along the affected beach sites. Water monitoring will continue until results comply with State water quality standards."
Sanitation crews will be sampling the water in the river and ocean for signs of bacteria to help officials determine when it's safe to reopen beaches.
When it's deemed safe, that's when the city of Long Beach will allow people to go back in the water.