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S.D. County Wants To Test Beach Water

— The San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted today to look for ways to fund a water quality testing program.

Some San Diego County beaches fared better than others in a national report on 2008 ocean water quality.
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Above: Some San Diego County beaches fared better than others in a national report on 2008 ocean water quality.

The state two years ago yanked funding for the "Beach Water Quality Monitoring Program," which will covered by federal stimulus funds from July through the end of this calendar year.

There is no funding source identified for 2011.

"This is a very critical program that residents have come to trust and depend on to know if it's safe to go in the water," Supervisor Greg Cox said.

Runoff after rain storms frequently carries bacteria and other pollutants into the water at the beaches and bays, prompting the Department of Environmental Health to post signs recommending that people remain on shore. It is a rule of thumb to not go in the water for 72 hours after it rains.

Beaches from Coronado south also have to contend with pollutants from the Tijuana River.

Board President Pam Slater-Price said local tourism depends on clean beaches.

The program has most recently been funded by a two-year, $600,620 grant by the State Water Resources Control Board.

The county will ask the board for help in seeking alternative funding sources.

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