Former Imperial Beach mayor speaks on 40th anniversary of first Tijuana River sewage dump

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The former mayor of Imperial Beach Brian Bilbray is remembering the first big sewage dump in Imperial Beach, which happened 40 years ago in 1980.

It’s now 2020, and toxic sewage from Tijuana is currently flowing at a rate of 50 million gallons per day into San Diego.

Millions of gallons of raw sewage is pouring into the ocean and could keep flowing all summer long.

Imperial Beach’s current Mayor Serge Dedina recently told KUSI’s Dan Plante that “this could be the worst round of pollution we have ever seen coming at us. In 2017, we had 250 million gallons spilled, now we have 50 million gallons, a minimum of 50 million gallons every single day.”

Last week, U.S. Reps. Mike Levin, D-Oceanside, Susan Davis, D-San Diego, Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, Scott Peters, D-San Diego, Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer discussed the $300 million in the international agreement to fund the Border Water Infrastructure Project (BWIP) to address pollution in the Tijuana River.

Over four years, that money would fortify water treatment facilities in the valley, namely the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant. In December, the House and U.S. Senate also passed a $1.4 trillion federal spending deal that includes $25 million for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Border Water Infrastructure Program, $10 million more than Congress’ allocation to the program last year.

Transborder pollution from the Tijuana River has contaminated U.S. waters and coastlines for decades, forcing San Diego County environmental health officials to regularly close beach access near the border. During that time, local and state officials and environmental activists have called for federal assistance to protect the health of the environment and residents near the border.

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