Sewage contaminates Imperial Beach waters

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moonlight-beach-sewage-spilIMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. — Beaches south of Carnation Avenue in Imperial Beach were closed to swimming or other water contact Tuesday when sewage-tainted runoff from the Tijuana River was washed north, the county’s Department of Environmental Health reported.

Sewage-contaminated runoff in the Tijuana River had been entering the Tijuana Estuary as a result of recent rainfall and was still flowing, according to Mark McPherson of the DEH.

Observations made Tuesday prompted DEH officials to suspect northward moving ocean currents pushed the contamination toward the waters at Imperial Beach, he said.

The DEH had previously closed the area at the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge shoreline.

McPherson said signs warning of the sewage contamination were posted and would remain in place until filed measurements indicated the ocean water was safe for recreational use.

The Tijuana River has been contaminated with sewage from Mexico for decades, as Tijuana’s sewage collection system has proved no match for the city’s explosive growth, federal officials have said.

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