Surfer cited for ignoring beach closures after sewage spill

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IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. -- Lifeguards in Imperial Beach Wednesday issued a citation to a surfer who ignored warning signs and went into the water after the beaches were closed due to millions of gallons of sewage flowing from the Tijuana River Valley into the ocean. 

Lifeguards in Imperial Beach used to only issue warnings, but about a year ago, they tightened their policy after sewage spills became more frequent, said lifeguard captain Robert Stabenow.

The water is closed from the border to 500 feet north of Carnation Avenue in Imperial Beach.

Restaurant employees say the stench from the sewage and the closures are bad for business, especially during the winter months when every customer counts. "I've noticed the beaches have been a lot more empty," said Tin Fish employee Dustin Busa. "Normally we'll get up to 40 orders, or 50 maybe. But we just had an all-time low that I've seen. Two days ago we got up to order number 11."

The San Diego County Environmental Health Department will test the water every day until bacteria levels are low enough for swimmers and surfers to enter the water, officials said.

Information on beach closures can be found here.

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