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The State Water Resources Control Board, the state’s water pollution police, will consider Nov. 4 whether to restore funding for beach water quality testing in San Diego and other coastal California counties.

Facing budget problems earlier this month, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger eliminated funding for San Diego’s monitoring program, 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.

The state water board says it will consider temporarily paying the costs from a previously approved bond package dedicated to boosting beach water quality.

Bill Rukeyser, spokesman for the state board, said it will consider funding tests for two years at a cost of about $1 million annually. “This is intended to fill a gap while the state general fund is under strain,” he said.

If the board approves the funding, San Diego’s program would receive the $300,310 that was cut earlier this year.

“It will reconstitute our program,” said Mark McPherson, chief of the county Department of Environmental Health’s land use and water quality division.

McPherson said he did not know when money would begin flowing to San Diego — and when testing would resume — if the state approves it Nov. 4.


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