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Toxicity tests pending

Sewage leaked into local waters at about 200 gallons a minute after Friday's sewer rupture.

July 03, 2010|By Joseph Serna, joseph.serna@latimes.com

Toxicity tests taken this morning should determine when Newport Beach's Little Corona beach, which was closed after Friday's sewage spill, can be reopened to the public, city officials said Saturday.

A sewer line broke about three miles inland near Newport Coast Drive and Ridge Park Road on Friday. Thousands of gallons of raw, untreated sewage streamed down Buck Gully toward the ocean, county officials said.

The sewage was leaking at about 200 gallons a minute, Shannon Reed, Irvine Ranch Water District spokeswoman, said Friday.

The leak was quickly contained, officials said, but Little Corona was closed as a precaution the remainder of Friday, all day Saturday and will stay closed through the Fourth of July holiday, police said.

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On Saturday, Little Corona visitors were not allowed on the wet, shoreline sand or in the water, said Lifeguard Battalion Chief Jim Turner. Yellow signs warning people of the potential contamination and park rangers notifying others sent most people to Big Corona beach instead, Turner said.

More than 18,000 gallons had leaked, county officials said.

Officials from the Irvine Ranch Water District and Orange County Health Care Agency were unavailable for comment Saturday. The cause of the rupture was undetermined Friday.

The closure today appeared to be mostly precautionary, Turner said.

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