Water along a portion of the Imperial Beach shoreline has been deemed suitable for human contact for the first time this year, the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health (DEH) announced Wednesday.
The Imperial Beach shoreline from the south end of Seacoast Drive to the U.S.-Mexico border had been closed since Dec. 13, 2012, said the DEH's Chief of the Land and Water Quality Division Mark McPherson.
The closure that started last December was the longest of the past year in San Diego County, according to analysis by Heal the Bay, but closure of the beach for months at a time is not uncommon, he said, since the river can bring water tainted by sewage and other contaminants to the ocean.
"It's not uncommon because, you know, once the rain starts and you have flow in the Tijuana River, it impacts the estuary," he said. "The flows have diminished for the most part and sample results are coming in cleaner."
DEH officials test water quality near the mouth of the river once a week, he said.
Released Thursday, Heal the Bay's 2013 Beach Report Card named the Tijuana River Mouth #10 on its list of Top 10 Beach Bummers in California.