Sewage swamps Monterey Bay beaches

As many as 4.9 million gallons of sewage spilled into Monterey Bay before it was stopped early Saturday morning and numerous beaches are now closed, Monterey County officials said.

The spill from a wastewater treatment facility in Marina was stopped at 4:30 a.m.

County officials said the spill was due to equipment failure.

Closed are Carmel Beach at Ocean Avenue, Monterey’s Municipal Beach, Lovers Point Park, the beach at Monterey State Beach, San Carlos Beach, the beach at Sunset Drive at Asilomar, the beach at Spanish Bay and Stillwater Cove.

County officials said all other beaches are open.

If it rains in Monterey County, a rain advisory will be in effect for all Monterey County beaches to tell residents and visitors to avoid having contact with ocean water for at least three days after the last rain.

The advisory will be in effect even if lab results show the water’s not contaminated.

County officials said beaches will remain closed until lab results show that the water is safe again according to state guidelines.

Contact with contaminated water may cause water-borne illnesses such as gastroenteritis.

For more information on Monterey Peninsula beaches, residents and visitors can call (800) 347-6363 or visit www.mtyhd.org/beaches.