Skip to main content

Dig Imperial Beach

Video From Don't Mess with IB Press Conference - Imperial Beach to Sue over Sewage

Aug 04, 2017 11:35AM ● By Paul Spear

             Video c/o Heidi Griffith-White of Stop the Poop


Baron Partlow of Stop the Poop Plans March on San Ysidro Port of Entry for Saturday August 12th for more information visit

Or you can contact Baron Partlow at (619) 210-4907. Any type of help is greatly appreciated!

Imperial Beach Takes Action on Sewage Spills

New Initiatives Aimed at Upgrading Collection and Treatment Facilities


“Don’t Mess with IB”


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                              FOR INFORMATION:

August 1, 2017                                             Ed Vea, Management Analyst, (619) 559-2225, 


City of Imperial Beach -- The City of Imperial Beach today announced a series of new initiatives to help stem the flow of sewage and toxic waste through the Tijuana River and under the border fence that have repeatedly fouled the ocean and area beaches and threaten the operations and safety of Navy SEALs and Border Patrol agents who defend U.S. national security.


For several years, Mayor Serge Dedina and the City Council have worked with other Southern California community leaders to secure federal authorization and funding for the infrastructure improvements that will capture the sewage and debris flowing across the border and into San Diego County.


Those efforts have the support of a majority of the Mayors in San Diego County, Senator Diane Feinstein, Representatives Juan Vargas, Duncan Hunter, Darrell Issa and Scott Peters, as well as the Border Patrol, the Surfrider Foundation, WILDCOAST, and several community action groups. Nonetheless, little progress has been made, and the frequency and scale of the sewage spills has reached record levels. Over a 17-day period in February 2017, nearly 250 million gallons of sewage spilled down the Tijuana River.


“Imperial Beach can no longer be patient and accept commitments to study the issue over the next decade,” explained Serge Dedina the Mayor of Imperial Beach. “The conditions in the River Valley are adversely affecting the physical health of our residents, the fiscal health of our City every single day and are a threat to U.S. national security. This would not be tolerated in La Jolla or Newport Beach. It’s time to stop messing with Imperial Beach.”


Too often, massive sewage spills flow right past a sewage treatment plant on the United States side of the border because the current infrastructure is not adequate to collect the wastewater during even minor rain events or accidental spills south of the border. Increasing the capacity of the diversion facility or construction of temporary holding basins could dramatically reduce the flows that reach the Tijuana Estuary and eventually the Pacific Ocean and Imperial Beach.


The International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) was established to address these types of issues along the border. However, repeated requests from local, state, and federal officials to solve the ongoing pollution crisis have been answered by the IBWC with letters attempting to justify the failure to act by citing the difficulties of working with their Mexican counterparts and other reasons why nothing can be done.


“It has been over a decade since the IBWC took any action to improve the situation by constructing treatment facilities on the U.S. side of the border,” said Mayor Dedina. “Those facilities are now overwhelmed and obsolete because of increases in both population and sewer effluent crossing the border. “The IBWC has the authority and responsibility to ensure that the sewage from south of the border does not pollute U.S. water supplies or threaten the health and safety of area residents.  It is time for them to step up and do their job.”


The City of Imperial Beach is proposing several near- and long-term initiatives to help reduce and eliminate the sewage spills:


## MORE ##

·         Increase the capacity of the diversion facility at the IBWC wastewater treatment facility.

·         Conduct a complete clean-up of the canyon collection facilities and perform ongoing maintenance and cleaning of the canyons.

·         React immediately when Border Patrol Agents and citizens report violations rather than waiting for confirmation from Mexican officials.

·         Construct a catchment basin to capture smaller rain events and accidental spills that can be diverted to the IBWC treatment facility.

·         Direct the North American Development Bank to fund necessary infrastructure improvements in Tijuana to increase capacity and reduce accidental spills.



In addition, the City is going to send a letter to the IBWC notifying the Commission of its intent to file a lawsuit if the Commission doesn’t take immediate action to stem, collect and treat the pollution flowing through the Tijuana River and under the border fence from Mexico.


“We hope that the notice letter and lawsuit will result in real solutions to this environmental disaster,” expressed Mayor Dedina, “and we hope that other communities and interested parties will join us in finding a permanent solution to what might be the worst ongoing environmental violations in the United States. Most importantly,” he emphasized, “Imperial Beach cannot wait any longer. While Washington dithers, we must take action. It is our duty to our residents and to the environment.”


The City has secured the services of Sher Edling, a San Francisco based environmental law firm, to assist the City in working toward a solution that will upgrade the sewage collection and treatment facilities and protect the health and safety of those who live, work, and play in Imperial Beach and surrounding communities.



## END ##


IB Press Conference Held August 1st THANKS TO Heidi Griffith-White

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Dig Imperial Beach's free newsletter to catch every headline