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Bacteria in the water at San Diego County’s beaches was less problematic in 2006, but sewage pollution from Tijuana continued to play a major role in closures, according to an annual report released today by the county’s Department of Environmental Health.

Excluding Tijuana sewage-related closures, the county’s beaches were closed 74 percent fewer times in 2006 than they were five years earlier. And while those Tijuana sewage-related closures decreased last year, it wasn’t because of any improvement in infrastructure: The county blames the closures on the rainfall. And 2006 was a dry year.

Sewage spills closed the county’s beaches — excluding Imperial Beach — 10 times last year, down from a peak of 39 spill-related closures in 2001. In all, beaches were closed 31 times in 2006, the lowest amount of closures in the past six years.

The shoreline south of Imperial Beach isn’t the only area with pollution problems. P.B. Point in Pacific Beach had a no-swimming advisory posted for 77 days last year — the most of any other area in the county.

The annual report summarizes all beach closures during 2006. The county’s Department of Environmental Health is responsible for monitoring and testing water quality along the county’s coastline.

ROB DAVIS

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