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More Water Testing May Be Coming For Tijuana River Valley

Sun rises over Tijuana River Estuary on Jan. 18, 2019

Photo by Erik Anderson

Above: Sun rises over Tijuana River Estuary on Jan. 18, 2019

State water quality officials are poised to force federal officials to do better monitoring of the Tijuana River on the U.S. side of the border.

The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board is poised to try to force the federal government to do a better job of monitoring year-round flows through the Tijuana River valley.

The river and estuary are frequently conduits for sewage-tainted water the fouls San Diego ocean waters.

The local regional board is expected to issue an investigative order calling on the International Boundary and Water Commission to closely monitor the situation in the river.

David Gibson of the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board in the KPBS Studios on Dec. 17, 2019.

“Right now it’s a wildcard. That kind of monitoring doesn’t exist and while IBWC has been doing some monitoring, we don’t know about the quality control, how frequent it is and it probably doesn’t answer the same questions our investigative order will post,” said David Gibson, executive officer at the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control board.

It is not clear if the state can compel federal officials to comply. However, if they do, the order says federal officials must share results with the public.

The extra monitoring will help San Diego County residents who are fed up with the constant pollution warnings at south county beaches.

“So those residents are outraged and upset. I completely share that as does our board. And we have decided to address those concerns, to move past talk, and actually focus on actions that we can impose and carry out, both in court and administratively,” Gibson said.

The Regional Board is also suing the federal government in an effort to compel the International Boundary and Water Commission to do more to stop cross-border sewage flows.

State water pollution regulators are preparing to require the federal government to do more water quality testing in the Tijuana River.

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