San Diego

City of Imperial Beach Adding Pressure on Federal Officials to Clean of Toxic Sewage Spill

The City of Imperial Beach is threatening to take legal action against the International Border Water Commission (IBWC) for a toxic waste and sewage spill into the Tijuana River.

In February, at least 28 million gallons of raw sewage spilled into the Tijuana River, and U.S. waters after a sewage pipe collapsed in Tijuana, according to an earlier report by IBWC.

Beaches were closed from Imperial Beach to Coronado.

But the IBWC report also found that 256 million gallons of sewage are unaccounted for from January and February of this year.

During a press conference Tuesday, Mayor Serge Dedina said he is sending a letter to IBWC asking them to take immediate action to treat the polluted water. If the commission does not comply, Dedina said the city will file a lawsuit.

"We think there has never been a case where people have been exposed to the type of toxic waste that is being discharged almost on a daily basis," Dedina said. "In which the United States government has apparently decided that it's okay and nothing needs to be done. That's unacceptable."

The city said the sewage spill is a threat to public health, a national wildlife refuge and two state parks. It is also impacting businesses and homeowners in Imperial Beach and Coronado, he said.

A representative for the National Border Patrol Council said Border Patrol agents are being forced to work under unnecessary hazardous conditions due to the sewage spill.

Approximately 39 agents have fallen ill in the last three months, the representative said.

Dedina said the city is calling on Governor Jerry Brown, as well as local, regional and state leaders, to support the City of Imperial Beach.

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