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Parts of Goleta Beach closed due to estimated one million gallons of sewage spilled

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. – Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has issued a beach closure notice for Goleta Beach from one mile east to a half-mile west of the Goleta Slough on Thursday due to a sewage spill.

According to the City of Goleta, approximately one million gallons of sewage has been confirmed spilled from a damaged main sewer line near Santa Barbara Airport that entered into the Goleta Slough.

As of Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, Goleta Beach remains closed.

Originally, a notice from the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department stated about half of that amount had spilled.

The spill was discovered Saturday, Feb. 17 from a pipeline that runs beneath parts of the Santa Barbara Airport near the end of runway 33 next to Tecolotito Creek detail Goleta West Sanitary District.

The investigation into this incident is ongoing and the closure of Santa Barbara Airport due to flooding is not believed to be related to this spill state Goleta West Sanitary District in a press release on Thursday.

Goleta West Sanitary District was assisted in the spill response by Goleta Sanitary District and operations at the airport are not expected to be impacted by the response explain Goleta West Sanitary District.

The impacted areas around the outfall of the Goleta Slough have been closed to recreational contact and signs have been posted warning the public to avoid all contact with surrounding water until after water sample results show it is safe to enter the water detail Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

According to Goleta West Sanitary District, a bypass line was being used for the last two weeks during repairs to a pump station.

After the completion of those repairs Friday evening, the main line was reintegrated into the system and the rupture was eventually discovered Saturday morning detail Goleta West Sanitation District.

The specific section that failed after being brought back online was installed in 1978 and, after an investigation, the normally one-inch thick piping covered in protective coating was found to be missing some of its coating and was "paper-thin and razor-sharp" explain Goleta West Sanitation District General Manager Brian McCarthy.

Goleta West Sanitation District is required to submit a completed internal investigation and certified reporting of the incident to the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board by Mar. 3, 2024, detailed a press release from the sanitation organization issued Feb. 29.

Goleta Beach joins Miramar Beach as portions of that beach were closed following a smaller sewage spill that was related to area storms.

Stormwater runoff after any rainstorm already poses an elevated risk of certain illnesses and the spilled sewage notably increases the risk of rashes, fevers, chills, ear infections, vomiting, and diarrhea state Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

Santa Barbara County Public Health Department explain that limiting contact with water for at least three days following a storm event is the best practice to avoid runoff containing bacteria and pollutants and avoiding contact with untreated sewage is always recommended.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
beach closure
Goleta Beach
Santa Barbara County Public Health Department
Sewage Spill

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Andrew Gillies

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