City Officials Work To Curb Flow of Toxic Sewage into Tijuana River and Ocean

Multiple cities have sued over an issue they call a public health risk

Just this year alone, 427 million gallons of raw sewage has hit local waters and beaches, according to the Port of San Diego. 

It's been called a health crisis by officials and has made people in San Diego County physically ill: contaminating water with lead, arsenic, herbicides, and other chemicals that flow into local water sources like rivers and oceans. 

Local politicians have made it clear that the toxic sewage and waste that flows into the Tijuana River and Pacific Ocean, often times making surfers and swimmers sick, has to end. 

weeklong water contact closure due to sewage contaminated run-off from the Tijuana River. 

City officials with Coronado, Imperial Beach, Chula Vista, and the County of San Diego gathered to update the public on the latest efforts. 

Just this month, parts of the Imperial Beach shoreline were closed down for a

Federal agencies have stepped in to provide technical and financial solutions in the contamination issue that is a problem both in the United States and Mexico. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hosted the meeting along with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

Multiple tactics are being used to end the ongoing matter, which Imperial Beach Mayor, Serge Dedina, has called 'outrageous.' 

"Right now, we need to fix all the pump stations and collector pipes in Tijuana," said Dedina on Wednesday. "So they stop discharging raw sewage into the Tijuana River." 

Dedina said he is hopeful that will be accomplished soon now that Mexico has a new federal administration that seems to be more receptive to suggestions for repairs. 

"Ultimately it's Mexico's responsibility to fix it," added Dedina. 

At the Wednesday meeting behind Coronado City Hall, city leaders revealed that federal officials have invested money into solving the problem. 

In March 2018, the Port of San Diego, City of Imperial Beach, and Chula Vista filed a lawsuit against Veolia Water North America over violations of two U.S. laws designed to protect water quality and public health. 

"This is a real environmental and public health crisis happening in our water and on our beaches," said Dan Malcolm of the Port of San Diego. "The time for talk is over, it's now time for action." 

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