1.2M Gallon Sewage Spill Closes Beach

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Paul Krueger

    The flooding has subsided, but this week’s powerful storms caused another big problem that will stay around for at least a few more days. A major sewage spill closed a half-mile of Ocean Beach shoreline from Dog Beach, south to the pier.

    Erik Kemp and other surfers often ignore the signs and take their chances in the water. But this 1.2-million gallon spill is different.

    "You know, hearing about the big spill that's a definite stay out of the water," said Kemp.

    The pollution flowed Thursday from a flooded sewage pump station in Santee, down the San Diego River and into the ocean at Dog Beach.

    Unlike smaller spills in which you're just advised to stay out of the water, this closure makes it against the law to swim, surf, or even walk in the waves. Dogs are allowed in the surf, but lifeguards said it's better to keep them on the sand.

    "Your animals are going to come home with you. They're going to jump and play. They're going to be in contact with you and your family, and what ever they bring out of that river is now going to be on you," said Sgt. David Rains.

    As dog-owners learned more about the closure and the health risk from the polluted water, many took the lifeguards' advice.

    "It’s kind of hard to keep him away from the other dogs in the water right now. And if I would have known it was that bad, I probably wouldn't have come down here in the first place," said Mike Holloway.

    The sewage spill started early Wednesday morning at a pump station on Carlton Oaks Drive, in Santee. It continued for almost 24 hours, until emergency crews rerouted the flow and fixed the problem.

    The county's Department of Environmental Health will test the Ocean Beach water and open the beach when it's safe, but that's not expected for a few more days.