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April 10, 2012

SEWAGE SPILL /Beach Closure ALERT April 10th, 2012

by Paloma Aguirre
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BEACH WATER QUALITY ALERT FOR ALL OCEAN USERS IN SOUTH SAN DIEGO APRIL 10th, 2012

With forecasted rain for tonight, beach and ocean users are advised to avoid ocean water contact due to potential contamination from the Tijuana River. 

Last week a sewage spill due to a software malfunction at the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) caused approximately 60 million gallons of sewage to flow into the Tijuana River. During dry weather, IBWC's counterpart in Mexico CILA is responsible for diverting sewage flows to their sewage treatment plant south of Playas de Tijuana. But because of the malfunction, both diverting systems are failing to collect and treat the cross-border sewage flow which is causing Tijuana River flow to be increased. The Tijuana River flows into the Pacific Ocean just south of Imperial Beach, CA.

Recent ocean current and wind direction have been causing Tijuana River effluent to head south. But, with potential changes in wind and ocean current direction ocean water quality may be impacted once the forecasted storm system hits our coastline.

The Department of Environmental Health has been testing on a daily basis for potential contaminants in the Imperial Beach shoreline finding safe levels for recreational use each time in the last few days. 

As a general guideline all ocean users are advised to avoid ocean water contact following a significant rain event up to 72 hrs. In light of this contingency ALL south San Diego ocean users are strongly advised to avoid ocean water contact after the rain event. To monitor this situation in realtime follow @cleanwaternow

To see realtime Tijuana River flow click here

UPDATE APRiL 10th 1:26pm: the Department of Environmental Health just issued a beach closure for the Imperial Beach shoreline based on nearshore current shift from to S-N with stronger SW winds and strong odors.