SAN DIEGO’S Imperial Beach has been closed to swimmers after dangerous levels of sewage from Mexico’s Tijuana river contaminated the shoreline – with no sign of it being re-opened to the public soon.
By JOE GAMP
Tue, May 28, 2019
On Sunday, the San Diego County Department of Environment and Health issued a health warning. It said it had officially closed the southern part of Imperial Beach to the city’s entire shoreline. Since April, over 110 million gallons of toxic storm water has flowed from the Tijuana River since April this year.
The closure will remain in place until tests prove that the water is safe to swim in.
Signs have been erected in the area, adorned with the warning “exposure may cause illness”.
According to local reports, some residents took to the streets to pressure officials to tackle the water pollution issue with some holding placards that read “stop the poop”.
It follows the southern part of the coast along the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge being closed since November last year.
The national park straddles the US-Mexico border with a large metal border fence reaching out into the sea along the coastline.
The waterways are connected by the 193 km Tijuana River which has carried the affected water north.
Water pollution is being treated as endemic in the US city.
San Diego is based at the end of a large watershed that starts in and around Tijuana – meaning water rushing across the city picks up rubbish and debris along its path.
A federally operated rain water collection system – used for diverting flows of water to a wastewater treatment plant – is often overwhelmed due to rain and leads to pollution of the beaches around the city.
n 2017, the State of California sued the federal Government over sewage contamination spilling into the area as a result of flows from Mexico, which is still ongoing.
The lawsuit claims the federal Government’s lack of action led to tens of millions of gallons of “almost continuous sewage”.
It also seeks to force federal officials to upgrade systems and divert polluted flows away from the shoreline.