Sewage contamination closes South County beaches

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SAN DIEGO — San Diego residents were warned to avoid swimming and surfing at local beaches Friday due to high bacteria levels in the ocean caused by the rainy weather over Thanksgiving.

The Department of Environmental Health issued a general advisory for coastal waters in San Diego County.

The beach was closed for water contact from the border north to the southern edge of Silver Strand Beach, including Border Field State Park and Imperial Beach. Swimmers and surfers were banned due to sewage-contaminated water flowing from the Tijuana River into coastal waters in San Diego.

The waters off Imperial Beach were to remain closed for public contact until water samples indicate bacteria levels return to a safe level, according to the department.

The health agency warned that levels of bacteria can rise significantly in ocean and bay waters especially near storm drains, creeks, rivers and outlets where runoff flows. The runoff can contain bacteria from a variety of sources including animal waste, soil and decomposing yard waste and organic material.

Residents are advised to avoid swimming, surfing, diving and other water activities for 72 hours following rain. All beaches, and both Mission Bay and San Diego Bay, were under the advisory warning.

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