Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

San Diego Joins Legal Fight Against Cross-Border Pollution

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

The San Diego City Council is joining the legal effort to stop the region’s cross-border pollution problem. The council voted in closed session Tuesday to join the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board’s lawsuit against the federal government.

The federal agency responsible for pollution at the U.S.-Mexico Border was first sued more than a year ago.

Imperial Beach, Chula Vista and the Port of San Diego had grown tired of fruitless discussions and they took the International Boundary and Water Commission to court.


RELATED: Mayor Faulconer Urges San Diego To Join Suit Over Cross-Border Sewage

The state and Surfrider Foundation later filed their own lawsuits, and those legal actions are being argued concurrently in federal Judge Jeffrey Miller’s courtroom.

The county of San Diego remains uncommitted to joining the legal action.

“At the moment the county of San Diego, we’re having conversations. We’ve introduced a stakeholders solution and they are participating in that process, so we’re really hopeful that we’ll get somewhere with that. I know they’re really supportive of the issue, but that’s the extent of their involvement at the moment,” said Gabriella Torres of the Surfrider Foundation.

Torres said she is pleased the city decided to act, but it could have happened quicker.


“It should’ve been a united front from the beginning, making a statement. We’ve tried to negotiate, to work with the IBWC. It hasn’t worked. So we are disappointed but we are hopeful we can take the next step and just continue and move forward,” Torres said.

The partial government shutdown had temporarily halted the lawsuits, but Torres said the legal effort has since resumed.

San Diego Joins Legal Fight Against Cross-Border Pollution
San Diego has decided to join the legal effort to stop cross-border sewage flows. The city is joining the state's lawsuit against the federal government. You can hear this story and other local news every morning by subscribing to San Diego Stories, KPBS’ daily news podcast. Subscribe via iTunes,Google Play or your favorite podcatcher.