Video: Malibu Lagoon breaches; bystanders claim water contained sewage

[Updated, 11:30 a.m.] A spokesman for the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District says no sewage was discharged into the Malibu Lagoon on Tuesday when a berm breach occurred. 

The Tapia facility did not have a sewage spill or any release, so if there was sewage in that water, it did not come from us,” Jeff Reinhardt said.

Craig Sap, Angeles District Superintendent for California State Parks, said he was not aware of any sewage discharge either.

“I haven’t heard of any point source pollution, sewage or otherwise,” Sap said. “I’m sure if there was an issue county health would have been advised.” 

The berm separating Malibu Creek from Surfrider Beach breached Tuesday afternoon, causing lifeguards to post signs warning swimmers and surfers to avoid the water. Bystanders also told The Malibu Times the water coming downstream from the creek was brown, foul-smelling and appeared to contain sewage. 

Sarah Bhagwat said she was walking north along the beach on her way to the Civic Center when she came upon the breach. She was told be a lifeguard that the breach had occurred two to three minutes before. 


“[The lifeguard] was pulling everybody out and indicating that we probably shouldn’t be in the water for a while,” Bhagwat said. “[The water] smelled terrible, it smelled gross… A big foam ring formed south of the pier as it emptied out.”

Once the creek water emptied onto the beach, Bhagwat said the first wave at Surfrider Beach turned brown. 

Bhagwat’s neighbors, who live approximately 300 yards south of the Malibu Pier, later took a photo of what they said was a brown plume ringed by foam where the creek water coagulated.

Did you see the breach? Have any photos, video, comments or reactions? Let us know in the comments or email Associate Editor Knowles Adkisson at He may also be reached at 310-456-5507 ext. 109. 

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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