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Mexican Officials Admit Deliberately Diverting Raw Sewage into Tijuana River that Flows into Imperial Beach, USA

Mar 12, 2017 08:21PM ● By Paul Spear

CSESPT Officials, the Agency that Handles the Treatment of Sewage in Tijuana, Mexico, Have Admitted to the Deliberate Diversion of Raw Sewage into the Tijuana River in February in a Meeting Held on Thursday between the Two Parties.

Sources close to the situation and who didn't want their name disclosed have told Dig Imperial Beach that in a meeting held on Thursday between officials of CSESPT, the Agency that Handles the Treatment of Raw Sewage in Tijuana, Mexico, and Representatives from the City of Imperial Beach that the diversion of raw sewage into the Tijuana River in February was done deliberately when a main pipe in their infrastructure involved in the treatment of raw sewage there broke. They admitted it was an 8inch pipe and that it occurred over 4 days. They wouldn’t admit to how much raw sewage was diverted and went untreated. There was nothing more on why the City of Imperial Beach wasn't notified. the City of Imperial Beach has offered to go and help CSEPT anytime they are having these types of problems to minimize the effects of these types of incidents

It is reported by my source that the City continues to investigate and all avenues of relief to try to minimize the damage and clean-up the damage caused by the sewage spill. However, I they shared that they are running into many obstacles. Per my source, the City of Imperial Beach is having a hard time getting to affected areas of the spill to assess the damage. This is due in large part to it being nesting season for birds. These areas are very fragile and are protected by various state and federal wildlife agencies. Another problem the City is running into in trying to get relief is being able to put a monetary value on the damage. It is believed that there has never been a sewage spill of this magnitude before in the United States.

 In January, the City of Imperial Beach declared a State of Emergency related to what is now consider by residents to be normal runoff of sewage, trash, medical waste and other items dumped by Mexico into the Tijuana River. This State of Emergency was renewed as required by law during the February City Council Meeting.

A several days ago, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency for San Diego County which allows for the City of Imperial Beach to seek federal assistance. However, at this time the event has not been declared a "Federally Declared Disaster" which is necessary before someone like FEMA can come in. As of yet there has been no ported loss of life due to the sewage spill however, as the raw sewage mixes in the sand at the beach and the estuary and dries out it may become airborne and there could be many serious medical and life threatening illnesses. It is not believed that anyone is even looking into this possibility.

In early February residents of the City of Imperial Beach, communities near the Tijuana River Valley and beaches are far north as Coronado (see aerial video) started noticing a strong and nasty smell which we now know came from what is believed to be over 143 million gallons of raw sewage that went untreated and was diverted into the Tijuana River and eventually flowed into the Pacific Ocean in Imperial Beach.  

On March 2nd the Internal Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) agreed to an investigation on why Imperial Beach was not informed when this happened, Also on march 2nd, the IBWC was holding a Citizens Forum which turned into, at times heated, exchange of ideas on what could be done to keep residents of Imperial Beach better informed.

Many residents have been involved in a Letter Writing Campaign and Monday night Surfrider's NoBS (No Border Sewage) committee is holding a meeting at the South Bay Recreation Center in Robert Egger Park       

You can see all of Dig Imperial Beach's articles on this situation at:

There doesn't appear to be any quick solution to sewage spills happening as Tijuana's sewage infrastructure is old and can't handle their population load. Any help from other areas with this situation is greatly appreciated. You can reach Dig Imperial Beach with offers to help or ideas for solutions at


Paul Spear, Editor, Dig Imperial Beach

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