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Settlement reached in Tijuana sewage lawsuit

A surfer rides a wave in Imperial Beach in San Diego, Calif., Friday, March 2, 2018, behind a sign warning of the sewage-contaminated water from the Tijuana River Valley.
Elliot Spagat
A sign warning of sewage-contaminated water from the Tijuana River Valley. Friday, March 2, 2018.

A settlement was reached over ongoing pollution stemming from the Tijuana River watershed.

The lawsuit, filed five years ago by the cities of Imperial Beach and Chula Vista as well the Port of San Diego, alleged that the the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) violated the Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by failing to take steps to control coastal sewage pollution.

As part of the settlement, the IWBC pledged more resources to mitigate and monitor pollution levels along San Diego's oceanfront communities.


The parties also agreed to increased cooperation with Mexican water authorities to prevent future sewage spills.

Spills originating in Tijuana have forced the closure of beaches in Imperial beach and along the border for most of winter, and has been plaguing South County residents for years.

Imperial Beach Mayor Paloma Aguirre said that the ongoing pollution facing her community constitutes a public health crisis.

"My community is suffering, and we're very much tired of having this ongoing crisis happening every single day," Aguirre said. "But we are making progress."

Aguirre spoke to Midday Edition on Monday about how actions taken based on the settlement agreement could prevent Tijuana’s sewage from reaching the Pacific Ocean in the future.