July 24, 2024

Advanced Ailment Care

Elevating Health Solutions

Officials close popular California beaches amid sewage-contaminated waters

2 min read

SAN DIEGO – Multiple San Diego beach areas have been flagged for potential medical safety concerns due to high levels of bacteria in the water, stemming from sewage contamination.

The Department of Environmental Health and Quality has warned that water contact closures have been issued for the shorelines of Tijuana Slough, Silver Strand and Imperial Beach.

Three more beaches currently have advisories warning against water contact. These include Mission Bay, La Jolla and the dog beach at Ocean Beach.

Imperial Beach, whose city is the most impacted community north of the US-Mexico border, has been closed by authorities since Dec. 18, 2023.

“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.”

Three more beaches currently have advisories warning against water contact, including Mission Bay. Getty Images

However, the recent closures will not guarantee the safety of everyone.

“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 when it released its list of the top 10 most bacteria-polluted beaches in America in 2023. “People are getting sick just by breathing the air as they go to work, school, and even trying to enjoy their own backyards.”

However, the recent closures will not guarantee the safety of everyone. Getty Images

South Bay Urgent Care in Imperial Beach told FOX 5 that the number of patients needing breathing treatments has grown by 140% in the past year.

“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.” 

South Bay Urgent Care in Imperial Beach told FOX 5 that the number of patients needing breathing treatments has grown by 140% in the past year. Universal Images Group via Getty Images

County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer aims to determine the extent of the impact of airborne bacteria on residents’ health, FOX 5 reports. She intends to investigate the prevalence of illnesses by ZIP code.

“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.”

The Blue Water Task Force posts recent water test results on its website. The EPA has a list of all beaches that are monitored. The EPA also posts beach closures and advisories along with water test results.

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