NewsLocal News


Water company confirms no contamination, businesses want answers

water faucet
Posted at 5:48 PM, Aug 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-28 21:31:51-04

(KGTV) - IB Forum Sports Bar and Grill is a popular restaurant in Imperial Beach. The manager tells ABC 10 News, the bar was ready to stay open. Staff went out and bought bottles of water but were told on Thursday that they had to close.

"When we got the notice, we went to Costco and got cases of water and cranberry juice so we could stay open. We washed the produce," said Connie Schaeffer, manager of IB Forum Sports Bar and Grill.

"That all went to waste, on top of the food deliveries that we had," she added.

Schaeffer says the Health Department told the restaurant, they had to close on Thursday. They re-opened on Sunday.  It was because of the boil water advisory in Imperial Beach and nearby areas. California American Water says there was a positive E. coli sample at its water testing site in Imperial Beach. 

"At first it was Imperial Beach. Then it got extended to other areas. It was confusing. Can I wash my hands but not brush my teeth? What is ok? What is not ok? The information seemed very inconsistent," said Schaeffer.

The mayor of Imperial Beach tells us the information she received on Thursday and the following days from the county, was also inconsistent.

"The Office of Environmental Services gave information that they had to correct later on. Then later Environmental Health and Equality sent out the information to the local businesses and food operators. There was no follow-up on what to do," said Imperial Beach Mayor Paloma Aguirre.

"Our results confirmed the water was not contaminated. I am happy to report our water system was never compromised," said Brian Barreto. He is the Southern California External Affairs Manager for California American Water.

Barreto says while the water itself did not have E.coli, other environmental factors could have caused the positive test.

"We believe the bacteria was external, outside of our water system. It could have been in the air or faucet itself. We are working to determine that," he added.

Many questions remain. A big one is did the sewage in Tijuana or the storm cause the positive test result?

Barreto says there is no indication those were factors. But Aguirre says she wants to see evidence.