A Large and Enthusiastic Group Attended Last Night's Surfrider "No Border Sewage" (NoBS) Meeting
Mar 15, 2017 11:12PM
By Linda Heath
A Large and Enthusiastic Group Attended Last Night's Surfrider "No Border Sewage" (NoBS) Meeting at Robert Egger Recreation Center. A Standing Room only group of Citizens were present along with News Reporters from Channels CBS 5, and ABC 10, for an update and planning session about the Massive Raw Sewage spill which has invaded our shores, beaches and Estuary.Imperial Beach City Councilman Mark West addressed the group (see video attached) expressing concerns and offering praise for NoBS group leaders for their rapid response to the issue and informing the public.
There were numerous questions and suggestions brought forward regarding the spill and what can be done to make sure this never happens again. The sewage spills have been ongoing for at least 50 years according to Lifetime Resident and surfing icon from Imperial Beach, Jeff Knox.
Mr. Knox confirmed that this is a continual problem and has never been resolved.
It was noted that the 143+ Million gallons of raw sewage had been documented February 7th by the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) but no communication was initiated by Commission and the spill continued to flow continuously until February 24th.
There are still widespread questions regarding the total amount of sewage which was discharged into the Tijuana River from 143 through 240 Million gallons, which was determined by a calculation based upon a release flow rate of 300 Liters per second, and why there was no communication by the Mexican IBWC! The local City of Imperial Beach website is also devoid of information due to lack of communication. It appears that the major issue of questioning is the total lack of communications from the IBWC.
There is a demand for an investigation surrounding the spill, but it is noted that a clear and concise report due by April 2nd may not be wholly forthcoming as the investigators will be investigating themselves.
Suggestions and concerns were many and how solutions and an ending could be accomplished.
Surfrider has added an "Action Alert" bar to their website where individuals can send direct messages to elected officials, and there is still an ongoing Letter Writing Campaign conducted by the South Bay Clean Water Movement, comprised of local Mothers. It was further suggested that the writing campaign should be directed to the Federal level to gain much needed funding and help, and to the IBWC on both sides of the Border.
Other questions and suggestions had to do with testing of the contaminated water and why only Coliforms are being tested for and not other serious pathogens, and why the sand and air quality are not being tested.
It was pointed out that other groups should be involved in the process to include the Border Patrol, The Port of San Diego, the Navy especially the SEALs, FEMA, Schools, EPA, NOAA, CDC and hospital notifications of related illnesses, bike groups, and National and International News agencies. Also it is critical to involve families and children and angry action groups with frustration to fully generate support and be a "squeaky" wheel. The suggestion was that a set group of individuals write to an official each day and to another the next day and so forth to have continual persistent contact.
A further idea was to visit the Tijuana Watershed and tour the Tijuana Waste Water Treatment Facility. There needs to be a focus on the residual effects on the wildlife, birds and plants, which many of are endangered, and how this spill will affect nesting birds and sealife. The human aspects of spreading the contamination by tracking it in on shoes and clothing, bird poop, animal waste and so forth, and the airborne residuals after each rain and by wave action on the sand.
A letter was recently generated by local Mayors and Congressman David Alvarez supporting the North American Development Bank's offer of support to provide for the development of new infrastructure for Mexico's waste water treatment facility
I would encourage all readers to write letters, contact your elected officials, get involved , form groups of concerned citizens, whatever you can do to protect our City and the surrounding areas for us and all future generations to come before it is too late and there is nothing left!
Linda Heath, Senior Reporter digimperialbeach.com
Mark West Addresses Surfrider Meeting on March 13th on Sewage Spill Impacting Imperial Beach