Rep. Scott Peters assess damage from Tijuana River sewage spill
IMPERIAL BEACH (KUSI) — Rep. Scott Peters met with officials from Coronado and Imperial Beach Monday to tour the damaged areas from the Tijuana River sewage spill.
The purpose of the tour was to view firsthand the damage wrought by hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage from Mexico that has poured over the border and fouled San Diego’s southern beaches and bays.
Rep. Peters was recently appointed to the influential Energy and Commerce Committee of U.S. House of Representatives, and serves on its Environmental subcommittee which has jurisdiction over all matters related to soil and water contamination.
The estimated amount of sewage discharged into the Tijuana River was recently increased; early estimates pegged it at 143 million gallons. More recently, the Baja State Water Commission for Tijuana reported that as much as 230 million gallons was discharged.
The stench of raw sewage was widespread and consistently being reported with nothing but silence in response from authorities on both sides of the border. Their inaction has put the health of many impacted communities at risk.
Last week, The United States and Mexican Commissioners of the International Boundary and Water Commission agreed to investigate the cause of the sewage spill.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Mexican officials said the discharge resulted from a project to repair a sewer pipe at the confluence of the Alamar and Tijuana rivers, south of the international border. U.S. officials weren’t notified about the work, however.
California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) issued the following statement Thursday regarding the launch of the investigation:
“Spilling 143 million gallons of sewage into the Tijuana River absolutely warrants a federal investigation and I am glad that one will be done,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “The health of my constituents has been severely impacted by the contaminated waters and we are furious. Failing to notify the public of this environmental disaster is unconscionable. It is my hope that the investigation by the IBWC will result in improved communication and that a failure of this magnitude doesn’t happen again.”