Scripps Oceanography to Study Pollutant Transport in the Imperial Beach Surf Zone


Scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego will be conducting field experiments from Sept. 8 to Oct. 31 to study pollution transport along the Imperial Beach shoreline during dry weather when the Tijuana River flow is small and beach usage is large.

Pollution transport and dilution will be simulated by releasing EPA-approved, non-toxic, pink dye at selected shoreline locations.

The dye, carried along in the prevailing alongshore currents in the surf zone, will form a plume similar to that formed by wind blowing past a smokestack. Wave, current, depth, dye and biological measurements will be used to track the dye plume.

The Imperial Beach Pollutant Transport and Dilution Experiment (IB09) will span between the Tijuana River mouth and the southern boundary of the Silver Strand State Beach, a region selected for its long, straight coastline with a history of water quality problems when it rains.

During the experiment, the public can expect to see an array of fixed-in-place, cross-shore instruments mounted on tripod frames to be located offshore of Imperial Beach Boulevard, flags, fiberglass poles, surf zone drifters and pink dye in the water. All-terrain vehicles will be used to survey the beach and specially equipped Jet skis will collect data offshore. Warning signs will be posted.

The project is funded by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, California Sea Grant and the California Department of Boating and Waterways.

For additional information, please visit the IB09 website at

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