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Sun and Sea Festival dealing with sewage spill in Imperial Beach

Organizers have alternatives if water is not safe
Sun and Sea Festival Sandcastle.png
Sewage-contaminated runoff in Tijuana River prompts Imperial Beach water closure
Posted at 7:58 AM, Jul 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-02 10:58:27-04

IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. (KGTV) - Organizers of the Imperial Beach Sun and Sea Festival say they're ready to go this year, despite a recent sewage spill from Tijuana.

"It's always on my mind," says Co-Chair Shirley Nakawatase. "I think it's an ongoing situation that we have at the beach."

Nakawatase says the spill shouldn't impact the festival, because they only use ocean water for the sandcastle competition.

If the water is considered unsafe, they can use fresh water purchased from Cal-Am.

"We're going to request daily testing to make sure the bacteria count is low," she says, noting that testing will begin on the Monday before the festival.

A recent sewage spill dumped 3.5 million gallons of sewage into the ocean south of Imperial Beach, prompting a full closure of the coast in the area. So far this year, Imperial Beach has lost 50 days of beach time because of sewage-contaminated water.

RELATED: Imperial Beach Coastline closed due to runoff

The Sun and Sea Festival brings thousands to Imperial Beach every summer for a day of sandcastle competition, concerts, food and more.

This year's festival will be on July 13th. The theme is "Under the Sea."

"It can just make people smile," says Co-Chair Leah Goodwin. "If you spend the whole day at the beach and give people a memory, that takes you away from some of the craziness. That's why we do this."

As for the sewage concerns, Nakawatase says people don't need to worry.

"Nothing's going to spoil the party," she says.