“It’s done.”

That’s the status as of today for the region’s once-robust beach water quality monitoring program, says Mark McPherson, chief of the county Department of Environmental Health’s land and water quality division.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger eliminated funding for the $302,000 monitoring program annually, which sampled 55 sites along the county’s coastline each week, looking for high bacteria levels and posting signs warning swimmers and surfers when they were found.

“As of right now we do not have a funding mechanism,” McPherson said. “We cannot continue the program without the funding. In the event that we’re able to find funding in the future, we’ll reconstitute a program.”

The county, which posted advisories and closures warning of contaminated water, will continue to post water-contact closures along the U.S.-Mexico border following heavy storms. Rainfall over Tijuana can flush hundreds of millions of gallons of sewage-contaminated water into the Pacific, routinely closing border-area beaches for months at a time.

But the regular monitoring is done, unless the county finds another funding source.


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