Over the course of two weeks in February, 143 millions of gallons of raw sewage spilled into the Tijuana River, sending a nasty torrent into the waters off San Diego, closing numerous beaches for health concerns, and permeating a foul odor, Surfline reported.
It took weeks for Coronado beaches to open, but stretches of beach further south from Silver Strand State Beach to Imperial Beach remain off limits.
The mayor thinks it was deliberate!
“This was like a tsunami of sewage spills,” Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina, told the Los Angeles Times. “What’s worse is it looks to me like this was deliberate. It saves [the Mexican agencies] a lot of money in pumping costs, and ultimately, they can get away with it and do it all the time, just on a much smaller scale.”
Tijuana officials say it was a broken pipe.
Reports from Mexico say the spill occurred during repair efforts on a pipe at the confluence of the Alamar and Tijuana rivers. But local officials and environmental agencies – including the Surfrider Foundation’s San Diego chapter and Wildcoast – are calling for the International Boundary
The International Boundary and Water Commission said the tsunami stopped when a major pipe near where the Alamar and Tijuana rivers had been fixed.
Dave Gibson, executive officer of the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, told the LA Times: “Was the spill intentional? Well, yeah. It appears they were working on the pipeline. I don’t believe that it was a question of it failing.”
“At least a notification would be a good neighborly thing to do, to let us know what was coming down the river before it got here so we could alert the public,” he added.
“The ocean shoreline from the International Border to the north end of Silver Strand at Avenida Lunar will remain closed until sampling confirms these areas are safe for water contact,” the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health said in a statement.
The duration of the spill and volume are unknown. The investigation will be complete by April 1.