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Money For Water Quality Testing Is In Jeopardy

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San Diego County continues to test for water contamination at 44 beach locations. But state funding for the testing is at risk.

— San Diego County continues to test for water contamination at 44 beach locations. But state funding for the testing is at risk.

An article in the LA Times says statewide testing of coastal waters for dangerous levels of bacteria is down by nearly 50 percent since 2005. Mark McPherson, with the County of San Diego, said San Diego has not cut that much. But the County Department of Environmental Health now monitors water quality at 44 locations, down from 55 locations a few years ago. McPherson said state funding cuts have forced them to be more efficient.

"We have actually increased sampling at some locations," he said, "because they're higher risk. But we have reduced sampling in some locations because we haven't seen any exceedences in more than five years.

San Diego County now funds water testing though a state contract that will expire at the end of the year. Environmentalists say making sure beach waters are safe to swim in is vital to human health and to California's huge tourism industry.

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