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Baja California officials expected to declare state of emergency over Tijuana's sewage system

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Posted at 4:14 PM, Mar 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-14 07:27:16-04
IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. (KGTV/AP) — This week, the governor of Baja California is expected to declare a state of emergency after millions of gallons of sewage spilled over last month from Tijuana onto a stretch of shoreline in Imperial Beach.
 
Officials say the ordeal started when a sewage line collapsed and worsened as attempts to make repairs released more sewage.
 
The state of emergency could free up money to improve and repair Tijuana's sewage system, officials say.
 
Officials say they estimate 230 million gallons of raw sewage spilled into the water.
 
 
County officials are outraged over the lack of communication from their Mexican counterparts. Crews only began investigating the spill after nearby residents complained about the odor for two weeks.
 
"We didn't see that 'reach across the border' on either side and that's perplexing," Congressman Scott Peters said. "People have been stonewalling, but we have been asking; as soon as this sewage spill started, we could smell it in Imperial Beach."
 
The Department of Environmental Health said Saturday water quality along the Imperial Beach shoreline meets state health standards.
 
Beaches that were contaminated by the sewage spill in neighboring Coronado were declared safe and reopened last week.
 
The department says the last stretch of shoreline from the Tijuana Slow National Wildlife Refuge in Imperial Beach to the border with Mexico will remain closed until sampling confirms the area is safe.
 
California officials say more than 140 million gallons of raw sewage spilled into the Tijuana River in Mexico and flowed into the U.S. for more than two weeks in February.
 
 
The Associated Press contributed to this report.