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Something that looks like compacted toilet paper has been washing up on a mile-long stretch of shoreline at Fiesta Island, prompting the county’s Department of Environmental Health to continue expanding water-contact closures throughout Mission Bay.

Mark McPherson, chief of the county’s land and water quality division, said he suspects a septic hauler may have dumped the waste in the bay.

The waste ranges in colors, smells a lot like sewage and has coincided with a spike in bacteria levels in Mission Bay, McPherson said.

“It looks like someone took newspaper, pressed it as hard as they could, it has that kind of consistency,” McPherson said. “But it’s not newspaper.”

The county has closed the western shoreline of Fiesta Island and is expanding the closure today to include the shore around Mission Bay’s visitor’s center south to Leisure Lagoon.

Tracking the source will be difficult. McPherson said the county is relying on any eyewitnesses to report a potential dumper. The first reports of the waste came in Sunday and Monday, he said.

For updates on the closure, call the county’s water quality hotline at 619.338.2073.

ROB DAVIS

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