Giving Compass' Take:

• Mara Dias discusses the sewage spill in South Orange County and how a water sampling group protects communities.

• The article mentions a task force that helps collect water samples. How can you incorporate volunteering into your philanthropic strategy for causes you care about?

• Learn about sewage problems in Alabama.

A 1.4 million gallon sewage spill in South Orange County, CA prompted health officials to close ocean and bay beaches over the holiday weekend. The raw sewage burst from a broken valve on a 24-inch pipe that transports sewage to a treatment plant in Laguna Beach, flowing onto a golf course, into nearby Aliso Creek, down the canyon and out into the Pacific Ocean.  That’s how watersheds work, everything flows downhill to the beach.

To protect the health of beachgoers and ocean recreationists, the Orange County Healthcare Agency closed the ocean and bay areas from Pelican Point at Crystal Cove in Newport Beach to the Poche Beach in Dana Point and San Clemente.

This event highlights the importance of checking water quality conditions before going to the beach or jumping into the water.  Swimming in sewage is unsafe and could cause serious health problems. This is why Surfrider Foundation Blue Water Task Force volunteers are out at the beach collecting water samples and sharing vital water quality information with their communities.

Read the full article about the large sewage spill plaguing OC beach communities by Mara Dias at Surfrider Foundation.