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County to Continue Beach Water Quality Testing in 2011-2012

Supervisor Greg Cox announced Thursday that water quality testing will continue next year with funding from the San Diego County general fund.

The county of San Diego will dip into its general fund to continue beach water quality testing in the next fiscal year at a cost of $120,000, Supervisor Greg Cox said Thursday.

The state used to pay for the program, but eliminated the funding in 2009 budget cuts.

The county, other government agencies and environmental groups stepped
in to provide joint funding the past two years, but that money is due to run
out this fall.

Cox, whose district includes Coronado, Imperial Beach and Ocean Beach,
said the program is vital to both public health and tourism.

"With the weather heating up and the beach season upon us, we're excited to let San Diegans know that they won't have to worry whether or not it's safe to go in the water,'' he said.

Water quality testing is conducted at more than 60 different shorelines around the county, including seven from the north end of Imperial Beach to the U.S.-Mexico border.

The funding will be part of the county's budget for the Department of Environmental Health, which operates the program and issue warnings and beach closures typically following rainfall. The budget is scheduled for final approval in August.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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