Popular California Beach Closes Due To Sewage-Contaminated Waters
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Oh Crap! Popular California Beaches Close Due To Sewage-Contaminated Waters

Officials have shut down multiple San Diego beaches amid tourist season due to potential health concerns. They are concerned about the high levels of bacteria in the water, due to sewage contamination. 

The Department of Environmental Health and Quality has closed  Tijuana Slough, Silver Strand, and Imperial Beach due to these issues. Likewise, the agency lists advisories against water contact at Mission Bay, La Jolla and the dog beach at Ocean Beach. In December 2023 officials closed Imperial Beach.

"Over 135 billion gallons of untreated sewage have flowed into the Pacific Ocean, leading to over 900 consecutive days of beach closures," Imperial Beach Mayor Paloma Aguirre told FOX 5 San Diego. "It is a profound public health crisis that has affected every asset of life in our community."

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However, officials warned that toxins could contaminate the air near the beaches as well.

"These closures don't fully prevent people from getting sick as some toxins are aerosolizing and contaminating the air in Imperial Beach and other nearby border communities," the Surfrider Foundation said earlier this month.. "People are getting sick just by breathing the air as they go to work, school, and even trying to enjoy their own backyards."

Popular Beaches Closed

Meanwhile, South Bay Urgent Care in Imperial Beach saw a massive increase in the number of patients needing breathing treatments.

"Coastal waters along Tijuana, Mexico, and Imperial Beach, USA, are frequently polluted by millions of gallons of untreated sewage and stormwater runoff," the research stated. "Entering coastal waters causes over 100 million global annual illnesses, but CWP (coastal water pollution) has the potential to reach many more people on land via transfer in sea spray aerosol."

County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer wants to determine the extent of the issue and how many people are getting sick. She's planning an investigation into it.

"Our county has been leading the fight in partnership with our local cities to clean up the Tijuana River sewage crisis," she said. "We've been demanding the state and federal government take action to protect public health and clean up local beaches, and that has yielded some financial investments for improvements, it reinforces our commitment to protecting our beaches, bays and coastline."