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Sewage Still Fouling South San Diego County Beaches

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.

Mexican officials have reduced the flow of raw sewage pouring into the United States, but millions of gallons of tainted water continue to reach U.S. ocean waters every day.

U.S. federal officials say a broken pipe in Tijuana is responsible for a spill that was dumping 6 million to 7 million gallons of sewage daily into U.S. waters.

Mexican officials have been working on the problem just south of the U.S.-Mexico border. A pump is helping divert some of the flow.

RELATED: Federal Judge Considers Request To Dismiss Cross-Border Sewage Lawsuits

“Even with that pump on, we get 4-and-a-half million gallons of sewage a day in that river. And that’s why we’re in court and the reason we’ve been asking for infrastructure to capture all these incidental, frequent pump station breakdowns, or sewer collapses that basically cause our beaches to be closed for weeks and weeks at a time,” said Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina.

Pollution warning signs have been up on South County beaches since heavy rain drenched the region recently.

“If you were down there on Tuesday and you saw apocalyptic piles of garbage and that river of black sewage, you would want to settle that too,” Dedina said.

Meanwhile, a federal judge in San Diego has rejected an effort to dismiss lawsuits that are asking the courts to force the federal government to fix the region’s cross-border sewage problem.

The Department of Justice argued the municipalities and clean water groups can’t sue because clean water rules don’t apply.

The lawsuits against the federal government could go to trial this spring.

Imperial Beach is suffering from another massive cross-border sewage spill, even as Mexican officials work to fix a broken sewage pipe.


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Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

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