Water Board places 10 county agencies on notice to clean up San Diego River

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Water Board is asking 10 local agencies, including the city and county of San Diego, to curtail the flow of human fecal matter into the San Diego River.

The problem has gotten worse over the last few years to the point it’s being compared with similar issues along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the state agency that monitors the region’s water quality,

“While we’ve all known about the border issue — the Tijuana water shed — it was surprising to find out there was actually a lot of human waste present in the San Diego River water shed,” said David Gibson, San Diego Water Board Executive Officer.

Gibson says the likely culprits have been identified and include leaking septic tanks and sewer lines under and along the river, sewer lines improperly connected to storm drains and the homeless population along the river.

“Some people camping right over here, living in parking lots are not using toilets. They’re using whatever happens to be available. It’s making people sick as well,” said Gibson.

Gibson says if the agencies don’t start working on the problem, the water in the river is going to create big problems.

“There are organisms like noroviruses that cause massive illnesses on cruise ships that we’re finding in our own water,” Gibson said.

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