LOS ANGELES (AP) — Underwater dump sites off the Los Angeles coast contain World War II-era munitions including anti-submarine weapons and smoke devices, marine researchers announced Friday.
A survey of the known offshore sites in April managed to identify munitions by using high-definition video that covered a limited portion of the sites, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, which led the survey, said in an email.
The survey, which used deep-water uncrewed vehicles equipped with sonar and a video camera, was a high-tech follow up in a region known to have been the dumping ground for industrial and chemical waste from the 1930s through the 1970s.
A 2021 survey using sonar had uncovered more than 25,000 “barrel-like objects” on the sea floor that possibly contained DDT and other toxic chemicals. High levels of the toxic chemical were previously found in sediments and marine mammals in the region, and DDT has been linked to cancer in sea lions.
However later research, including from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, suggested that much of the contamination may have come from acid waste containing DDT that was stored in above-ground tanks and then dumped into the sea in bulk from barges rather than in barrels.
The April survey included taking some 300 hours of high-definition video in a slice of that area, which allowed researchers to identify some of the…