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Imperial Beach Poised To Sue Over Sewage Spills

A beach closure sign is posted at Imperial Beach due to water pollution, Feb....

Photo by Katie Schoolov

Above: A beach closure sign is posted at Imperial Beach due to water pollution, Feb. 13, 2017.

Imperial Beach Poised To Sue Over Sewage Spills


Erik Anderson, reporter, KPBS News


Imperial Beach officials are poised to sue the federal government unless the city sees progress in containing cross-border sewage spills.

Millions of gallons of untreated sewage washed across the San Diego-Tijuana border this past winter and the stench was so bad at times Imperial Beach residents couldn't leave their homes.

The city wants better sewage treatment facilities on both sides of the international border. Imperial Beach officials also want a clean-up of the Tijuana River Valley and better public notification when there is a spill.

RELATED: Cross-Border Sewage Spill Response Uncovers Ongoing Problems

The city is ready to sue if the federal government does not come through with solutions.

"We've had enough of the toxic waste and toxic sewage being dumped into the Tijuana River and along the border canyons. And we're finally saying enough is enough," said Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina.

U.S. officials have not done anything to improve the situation in more than a decade, Dedina said.

"We think these are the most egregious clean water act violations in U.S. history," Dedina said. "The amount of toxic waste being discharged into the border and the canyons and into the Tijuana River are absolutely out of control."

RELATED: Federal US And Mexico Officials Agree To Investigate Massive Cross-Border Sewage Spill

Federal, state and local officials on the U.S. side of the border have all promised to help. The flow of sewage overwhelms Tijuana's sewage collection system and it would take hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade.

Imperial Beach officials are disappointed that Mexico is backing away from promises to invest money in Tijuana's infrastructure.

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