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US Officials Confirm Massive Cross Border Sewage Spills

Pedestrians return to Imperial Beach after sand was closed because of COVID 1...

Photo by Erik Anderson

Above: Pedestrians return to Imperial Beach after sand was closed because of COVID 19, but people are not cleared to get in the water on April 29, 2020.

U.S. officials confirmed Friday that more than 70 million gallons of sewage-tainted water are flowing from Mexico into the United States every day.

The International Boundary and Water Commission, the federal agency set up to deal with cross border water issues, is finally talking about the massive cross border sewage spills.

The IBWC has been mostly silent even though there have been billions of gallons of cross border flows since last November.

U.S. officials say a combination of pump failures and rain have overwhelmed Tijuana’s ability to keep sewage tainted flows out of the United States.

The Tijuana River is currently flowing at 73 million gallons a day, and half of that flow is untreated sewage. It all comes into the United States and eventually, it reaches the ocean.

RELATED: As Tijuana Sewage Pollutes South San Diego Beaches, County Asks For Federal Help

Mexican officials say repair efforts, collapsed pipes, overwhelmed pump stations and clogged drain are all contributing to the problem.

Mexican officials said they hope to have some of the ailing infrastructures fixed and operating by next week.

South Bay officials are asking for emergency action to address the cross-border flows.

“It appears there is absolutely no effort underway in Mexico, on the part of the U.S. federal government, the Trump administration, to actually move forward and ask for emergency repairs so that we don’t endure an entire summer of polluted beaches,” said Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina.

Imperial Beach just reopened its beaches to pedestrians, but people cannot go into the water because of the sewage.

The beaches there were closed because of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.


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Photo of Erik Anderson

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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