San Diego Implements Improved Water Quality Tests for Local Beaches

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Thanks to enhancements for the county beach water testing program, beachgoers can remain confident in the safety of their local beaches. The San Diego County Department of Environmental Health now has a special tool that will allow officials to test water quality and provide results faster than ever. Using this new test, the department will be able to alert beachgoers and ensure that people are aware when there is a potentially harmful level of bacteria present. 

The tool, which was implemented countywide at the beginning of summer, is currently the fastest standard test approved by California. The testing method is capable of producing results within 24 hours, a vast improvement from previous iterations that had a 2-4 day lead time. 

“The test also enables us to lift beach closures a lot faster once sample results confirm the water is meeting state health standards,” said Lars Seifert, Land and Water Quality Division chief for the County’s Department of Environmental Health. 

San Onofre beach by Justin Meissen via CC 2.0

This also means the department is effectively doubling the number of testing locations in South County between Coronado and Tijuana. As the winter months approach with heavier rains, this will be crucial as there is a greater risk of sewage-contaminated water flowing from the Tijuana River.

Water quality testing is a critical aspect in ensuring all San Diego County beachgoers are able to enjoy swimming in the ocean in the safest conditions. Water-Borne illnesses spread by high levels of bacteria can lead to hospitalization and even death. 

San Diego county prides itself on having some of the cleanest beaches in California, with many receiving an A+ ranking in terms of safety when it comes to a report from Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group. Much of this is thanks to the active and alert testing program run by the Department of Environmental Health. 

The county’s beach water quality program actively monitors more than 90 local beaches and bays, which serves as a strong safeguard against dangerous levels of harmful bacteria. Now armed with even greater testing methods and tools, San Diego residents can rest easy knowing that their beaches are closely monitored and safe to enjoy. 

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