Report: Water quality a concern in San Diego County

IMPERIAL BEACH - 10news has obtained a report that takes a look at water quality in San Diego beaches.

The report found that runoffs during rainy days can wreak havoc on the region's waters.

“The risk is that our quality of life will suffer,” said Ann Tartre, executive director of the Equinox Center. The research group will be releasing a report on the quality of life in the region in January.

“Equinox Center's research shows water quality has worsened, so we gave [San Diego] a thumbs down," said Tatre.

In a five-year span from 2007 to 2011, the number of beach closures has gone from 53 to 528, the report stated. The county has yet to release the numbers for 2012.

An increase in rainfall during that time meant more runoff, but that wasn't the only factor.

Tartre said the San Diego region lacks facilities found in other cities that treat runoff.

There are also plenty of pet waste and lawn fertilizers that get swept into the oceans.

According to the report, on wet days, 76 percent of local beaches get 'A' or 'B' marks – grades that are comparable to the San Francisco Bay Area region.

On wet days in Los Angeles, only 33 percent of beaches get 'A' or 'B' grades. Los Angeles is home to more dense developments, more septic systems and pollutants.

In San Diego, the area projected to grow the most in population is the south part of the county -- an area that scored the worst in water quality.

“So as we add more people, more roads, more buildings, water quality could worsen in that region,” said Tartre.

10news is partnering with Equinox Center to look at quality of life issues leading up to the release of its 2013 Quality of Life Dashboard report on Jan. 17.

For a closer look at what you can do to help keep our water clean, go to www.equinoxcenter.org.

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