San Diego

Sewage Spill Threatens Independence Day Beach Plans in the South Bay

Some families in the South Bay may have had their Independence Day plans ruined by a nasty sewage leak south of the border.

More than eight million gallons of sewege that spilled into the Tijuana River in Mexico over the last two weeks has made its way to the U.S. and will eventually wash ashore on San Diego beaches.

Sewage spills and contaminated rain runoff frequently cause water contact closures north of the border at the Tijuana Estuary and Imperial Beach. Sometimes the closures reach as far north as Coronado.

The Tijuana River crosses the U.S.-Mexico border just west of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, runs through the Tijuana River Estuary and drains into the Pacific Ocean south of Imperial Beach. Then northward currents push the contaminated water back toward the coast and onto San Diego’s coastline.

Signs warning of sewage contamination are already up around Seacoast Drive on the southern end of IB, but the northern beaches, and the IB Pier, are open for now.

"I don't feel comfortable getting in [the water] especially with the young one,” Beachgoer Ralph Eastham said.

In September, the San Diego Water Board sued the U.S. section of the IBWC, claiming it is violating the Clean Water Act by not monitoring or stopping untreated waste flowing to the ocean.

Several San Diego municipalities have also teamed up to file a federal lawsuit against the agency.

"It is completely frustrating because it has gone on for years,” Paloma Aguirre said. “It is the worst it has ever been."

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