Written by: Joshua Hill, Imperial Beach resident*

Ad nauseam. A latin phrase that literally means a discussion has continued to the point of nausea, and that those involved in the discussion have grown tired of it. The Imperial Beach community is a very chill, down to earth group, but you bring up these continual sewage spills, and you start to see a visual of “ad nauseam”. Its an immensely complex issue, with no end in sight, and we are all sick of it.

I’d been sick from surfing in IB as a grom, so I had been surfing more La Jolla/Sunset Cliffs, but once out of college I wanted to live somewhere more affordable and with a grounded community.  IB was the perfect place, except for all this pollution. In any situation, it is always difficult to be the one who has to deal with the consequences of bad decisions that other people have made. However, I was raised that you can either complain about a problem, or go fix it (just kidding, I wasn’t allowed to complain).

Long story short, I looked for ways to be involved – and at that time I did not know the systems of how/when/how to access the water quality, and as something cool to do as a science class, I brought my high schoolers out to the estuary, bay, and beach to test the water quality every so often over the years. I would post those results on my social media to let my friends know if it was polluted or not for the weekend, and eventually was connected with Surfrider’s Blue Water Task Force, where now I have the kids in Mar Vista High’s Poseidon Academy running a state of the art lab where we process samples up and down the coastline, and posting results online for all to see.

Does my involvement magically fix our sewage problem? Goodness, no. But if everyone does something small, collectively we can fix this huge issue – and in the meantime if we can collect hard data about our water quality, and help keep kids from being sick, that is worth it.

*#mycleanh2ostory is written by local activists who are fighting for clean water.