4 Los Angeles County beaches remain under high bacteria warning
LOS ANGELES – A number of beaches in Los Angeles County remain under the threat of contamination after being recently decontaminated, local health officials said Friday.
Los Angeles County health officials have been working to clean up beach sand for the past month using a process called “fumigation.”
The health department says it is not in fear of a new wave of deadly illnesses with bacteria the size of viruses that have hit California beaches. Instead, the department says the process is meant to deal with the bacteria already present and protect public health by reducing them from infecting someone else.
The county has received more than 7,500 complaints about the decontamination process.
“The county is committed to doing its part to ensure public health and safety, and we have been working toward this goal for months,” said Dr. Michael Taylor, interim chief of the Health Department’s Bureau of Environmental Health.
Beaches that have been decontaminated include Venice Beach and Santa Monica, while those that require decontamination include Hermosa Beach, Pacific Palms and Torrance.
Health Department officials say the process includes a thorough washdown of the beach with an inversion system that sucks the sand from the top of the ocean.
The sand that is collected is then poured into a large bin and allowed to sit for a day while it is treated for the presence of bacteria. The sand can then be brought back to the beach and spread over the entire beach during a second treatment step.
“The sand we use in the fumigation process is not the same type of sand used in the construction of buildings or the sand that people use to drive through in their private cars. Most people are aware that when they spread their beach sand out on the beach, it can have contaminants. But until we started using the sanitizer on sand, we did not know exactly what type of contaminants were causing people to complain. This will provide the public with a safe and reliable sand beach,” said Dr. Taylor.
Health officials say it can take up to a month for the sand to be