The beach at Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge again landed on a list of the state’s most polluted waterways this year.

Heal the Bay, a Santa Monica-based environmental group, ranked the beach eighth of the 10 most polluted. It had topped the list – called “California Beach Bummers” – last year.

A majority of the California coast received an “A” grade from Heal the Bay, including stretches of beach from Oceanside to Encinitas. Eighty-nine percent of the county’s beaches scored an “A” or “B” grade. A majority of the top 10 list features Los Angeles County beaches.

“Beach water quality in San Diego County improved dramatically this year, especially at Imperial Beach,” Mark Gold, Heal the Bay’s executive director, said in a news release. “Unfortunately, the beach adjacent to the Tijuana River still received an “F.” Hopefully we’ll see similar improvement there in the near future.”

After rainfalls, the Tijuana River carries raw sewage down into the Pacific Ocean from the burgeoning population scratching out lives on Tijuana’s hillsides. The cross-border rogue sewage has kept the area around the river’s mouth closed to swimming since Feb. 21. (Some people swim in it anyway.)

The area isn’t the only problematic watershed in the county. Heal the Bay noted a few other bacteria-laden waters in San Diego County. The San Mateo Creek outlet at San Onofre State Beach in North County led that area to an “F” during dry-weather conditions. Same for Mission Bay’s Leisure Lagoon. Mission Bay’s Campland earned a “D” in dry conditions, an “F” for post-rainfall.


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