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New California Budget Leaves Ocean High And Dry

No Money for Ocean Water Quality Testing

Audio

Aired 10/11/10

The California state budget does not include money to pay for beach water quality testing. No monitoring could create health risks for ocean swimmers from San Diego to Crescent City.

Signs warn the public to stay out of the water in an area harboring high bacteria levels near a drain at Will Rogers State Beach on August 7, 2007 in Pacific Palisades, northwest of Los Angeles, California.
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Above: Signs warn the public to stay out of the water in an area harboring high bacteria levels near a drain at Will Rogers State Beach on August 7, 2007 in Pacific Palisades, northwest of Los Angeles, California.

The California state budget does not include money to pay for beach water quality testing. No monitoring could create health risks for ocean swimmers from San Diego to Crescent City.

The lack of funds to test ocean water quality is puzzling to the Surfrider Foundation's Rick Wilson.

"It is odd, and it's very disturbing and frustrating for those of us who are involved in working to try to keep the oceans clean," said Wilson.

Wilson said it's the second consecutive budget with no funding for water quality testing.

"The county testing agencies throughout California have been scrambling to try to find other sources of funding ever since the Governor cut the funding out of the budget two years ago," said Wilson.

Wilson said the State Water Quality Control Board has provided grants from bond funds to pay for testing, but there's no guarantee that money will be available next January.

He said while testing resumed on a limited basis in San Diego and other counties, some coastal counties stopped monitoring.

Wilson said limited water quality testing creates a significant health risk for millions of people who swim in the ocean each year.

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