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Environment

San Diego County Warns Of Urban Runoff At Beaches

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Coastal waters could be polluted with urban runoff due to the recent rainfall, San Diego health officials reiterated Wednesday.

"Swimmers, surfers and other ocean users are warned that levels of bacteria can rise significantly in ocean and bay waters, especially near storm drains, creeks, rivers and lagoon outlets that discharge urban runoff," the Department of Environmental Health said. "Urban runoff may contain large amounts of bacteria from a variety of sources including animal waste, soil and decomposing vegetation. Swimming, surfing and diving should be avoided in all coastal waters, including Mission and San Diego bays, for 72 hours following rain."

The environmental agency noted that, while many county coastal storm drains are permanently posted with white metal signs warning of storm pollution, additional temporary warning signs are not posted during general advisories.

The agency said elevated bacteria levels can persist in coastal waters depending on the storm intensity and the volume of runoff factoring in current ocean conditions. A water contact closure also was currently in place for the ocean shoreline at the Tijuana Sough National Wildlife Refuge and Border Field Park due to sewage-contaminated flows from the Tijuana River entering the United States.

Warning signs will remain in place at those location until sample results indicate ocean water is safe for recreational use, DEH said.

Updates on beach closures can be found on the 24-hour hotline at (619) 338-2073 or at www.sdbeachinfo.com.

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