Once again, the Department of Environmental Health and Quality of San Diego County has extended beach closures north along the shorelines of Imperial Beach, Silver Strand Beach and Coronado Beach because of recent heavy rain.
These closures were issued due to the fact that the heavy rain had caused an excessive flow of the Tijuana River flowing into San Diego County beaches that contains not only sewage but brings in urban runoff. Both the combination sewage and runoff coming from Tijuana can significantly increase bacteria levels in the water that has a high possibility of causing illness. With Coronado being home to the US Naval Special Warfare Command, this has caused changes in training evolutions.
“Naval Special Warfare (NSW) takes safety seriously when planning and conducting any training. NSW adheres to all beach water quality closures and bacterial advisories issued by San Diego County along with additional Navy testing of local waters,” said media officer Lieutenant Commander Kara Handley.
“The Department of the Navy protects the health and welfare of all its personnel. Like local citizens who work and swim in local waters, the Navy does have some concern regarding the amount of sewage and debris that pollutes the south San Diego County coastline, causes erosion, damages natural resources and impacts the health and well-being of our community,” stated Navy Region Southwest media officer Brian O’Rourke. “When there is a County water advisory, in-water training evolutions are delayed, moved or canceled to mitigate any potential impact in accordance with our established risk management protocols.”
“To date, the pollution has caused infrequent, short-term impact to training evolutions,” O’Rourke commented. “We recognize conditions may change, and we continue to support federal and local agencies and stakeholders as long-term solutions are developed.”
“The Navy also continues to provide input as a stakeholder to lead agency USEPA in their efforts to prioritize short- and long-term projects to address transboundary border pollution that impacts the Tijuana River and the surrounding communities.”
The most recent efforts to combat the wastewater flow coming from the Tijuana River took place in August of this year. The International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) (an international organization comprised of a United States and Mexico section “responsible for applying the boundary and water treaties between the two countries and settling differences that arise in their application”) along with the US Environmental Protection Agency announced that they will begin the construction of sanitation infrastructure both along the shores of San Diego and Tijuana with the United States and Mexican government contributing a total of approximately $474 Million dollars into the project.