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Endless Bummer

The surf breaks from Imperial Beach Pier down to the Tijuana Slough are some of Southern California’s best. In that area, surfers can find good waves and light crowds. The water quality, however, is bad.

In summer months, according to a report released by the nonprofit environmental group Wildcoast, surfers and frequent ocean users have reported smelling a “sweet, chemical” odor near the shore.

In the wet weather months, when the Tijuana River flows into the ocean and millions of gallons of untreated sewage water drifts north off of Imperial Beach, the shoreline becomes what many regard as the most polluted stretch of beach in the country.

Each year, contamination found off Imperial Beach results in approximately 200 beach closures, which, according to the Department of Environmental Health, make up 80 to 95 percent of San Diego County’s total beach closures every year.

For many beachgoers, exposure to the sewage-contaminated water can lead to ear and eye infections, skin irritations, diarrhea, and possibly hepatitis A.

After a substantial rain in 2007, researchers from San Diego State University found hepatitis A in 80 percent of the samples they collected near the Imperial Beach Pier.

“No extensive epidemiological study has ever been completed of Imperial Beach ocean users,” says Ben McCue, coastal conservation program manager for Wildcoast. “But we’ve done surveys and two-thirds of the regular ocean users who enter the water at least once a week, year-round, reported getting sick from water contact.”

To draw awareness and prevent surfers from contracting hepatitis A, on Saturday, March 14, at the end of Imperial Beach’s Seacoast Drive, in front of the signs indicating heavily contaminated water, Wildcoast (in conjunction with Imperial Beach Health Center and San Diego State University’s Graduate School of Public Health) will pass out informational health packets and offer 1200 free hepatitis A vaccinations to surfers and any other frequent ocean-user.

For more on Wildcoast, visit their website at Wildcoast.net.

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The surf breaks from Imperial Beach Pier down to the Tijuana Slough are some of Southern California’s best. In that area, surfers can find good waves and light crowds. The water quality, however, is bad.

In summer months, according to a report released by the nonprofit environmental group Wildcoast, surfers and frequent ocean users have reported smelling a “sweet, chemical” odor near the shore.

In the wet weather months, when the Tijuana River flows into the ocean and millions of gallons of untreated sewage water drifts north off of Imperial Beach, the shoreline becomes what many regard as the most polluted stretch of beach in the country.

Each year, contamination found off Imperial Beach results in approximately 200 beach closures, which, according to the Department of Environmental Health, make up 80 to 95 percent of San Diego County’s total beach closures every year.

For many beachgoers, exposure to the sewage-contaminated water can lead to ear and eye infections, skin irritations, diarrhea, and possibly hepatitis A.

After a substantial rain in 2007, researchers from San Diego State University found hepatitis A in 80 percent of the samples they collected near the Imperial Beach Pier.

“No extensive epidemiological study has ever been completed of Imperial Beach ocean users,” says Ben McCue, coastal conservation program manager for Wildcoast. “But we’ve done surveys and two-thirds of the regular ocean users who enter the water at least once a week, year-round, reported getting sick from water contact.”

To draw awareness and prevent surfers from contracting hepatitis A, on Saturday, March 14, at the end of Imperial Beach’s Seacoast Drive, in front of the signs indicating heavily contaminated water, Wildcoast (in conjunction with Imperial Beach Health Center and San Diego State University’s Graduate School of Public Health) will pass out informational health packets and offer 1200 free hepatitis A vaccinations to surfers and any other frequent ocean-user.

For more on Wildcoast, visit their website at Wildcoast.net.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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