The Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has lifted the water contact closure for the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge and Border Field State Park shorelines. This includes the beach-line from the International Border to the south end of Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach.
Water quality testing conducted by DEH confirms that recent Tijuana River flows are no longer impacting these beaches. This area was closed to water contact due to sewage-contaminated flows from the Tijuana River entering the United States.
A rainy winter in San Diego had a domino effect on Tijuana’s aging sewage system.
According to the U.S. International Boundary & Water Commission (IBWC), nearly 30 million gallons of sewage flowed into the Tijuana River in early February due to the collapse of a 48-inch diameter pipe.
A huge sinkhole developed, and more pipes that couldn’t handle the volume fell apart or were blocked as emergency repairs got under way.
Three dozen pipelines in several other areas were found to be in critical condition.
An emergency notification process has been put into effect; both countries, Mexico and the United States, will now notify each other as soon as the water reaches a certain level of contamination. This new system is to make sure they can work together to fix future problems faster, states members of the federal agency IBWC.
The Tijuana sewage facilities will be making major upgrades that will cost $400 million to fix.
For more information on the Tijuana River, please call the U.S. International Boundary & Water Commission (IBWC) at 619-662-7600.
For updates on beach closure information please visit www.sdbeachinfo.com or call the 24-hr. hotline at 619-338-2073.