The rupture of a sewage line resulted in 7 million gallons of raw, untreated sewage being dumped into flood-control waterways in Los Angeles County. The incident first happened on Thursday afternoon, closing beaches and sending disgusting smells across the area.
The New York Times reported that a concrete pipe about 48 inches in diameter collapsed in Carson, California. It then leaked out of a manhole on 212th Street throughout most of Thursday evening and through Friday.
“It is a lot,” said Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts spokesperson Bryan Langpap. "That’s the biggest spill we’ve ever had."
The sewage then went through storm drains and into the Dominguez Channel, which runs from Hawthorne and dumps into the Los Angeles Harbor.
The pipe was built in the 1960s and it's being investigated why it collapsed. Similar disasters have happened all around the country as old infrastructure crumbles. A Washington, D.C. metro area line collapsed, dumping 10,000 gallons of sewage into a local creek. Century-old pipes in Baltimore have been undergoing emergency repairs after a damaged sewer main struck fear into the Department of Public Works. They explained that a full collapse could be "catastrophic."
The passage of President Joe Biden's infrastructure bill will fund the updates on many of these old lines.
“We actually have a project in construction now that was going to replace this sewer; that project isn’t done," Langpap said. "So I’m sure it was related to age, but what was the straw that broke the camel’s back, we don’t know yet."