The Tijuana river. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

The San Diego County Department of Environmental Health established a water contact closure along the Imperial Beach shoreline Thursday due to runoff from the Tijuana River contaminated with sewage, trash and other pollutants.

The closure comes two days after DEH officials lifted a previous closure of the Imperial Beach shoreline for similar reasons.

Water quality often is affected along county’s southern coast after rainfall, which can exacerbate sewage contamination that already affects the shoreline near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Pollution into the Tijuana River has affected county beaches and shoreline for decades, causing local and state officials and environmental activists to call for federal intervention.

The San Diego Surfrider Foundation and the city of San Diego filed separate lawsuits against the IBWC last year calling for action on the matter. The city’s suit, jointly filed with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, is scheduled to go to trial in April 2020.

In addition to the shoreline closure in Imperial Beach, the county also has an ongoing and essentially indefinite closure of the shoreline from the south end of Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach to the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge.

The closure in Imperial Beach will remain in effect until the county can confirm via water testing that the water is safe to come in contact with.

Residents seeking information on the Tijuana River can contact the IBWC’s San Diego field office at 619-662-7600.

Information on beach closures can be found at or by calling the county’s 24-hour hotline at 619-338-2073.

–City News Service

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