Frustrated Imperial Beach mayor to file a lawsuit to protect city from Mexican raw sewage spill

Mayor says, "Don't mess with IB"
Posted at 10:13 PM, Aug 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-08 22:29:07-04

IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. (KGTV) -- “Don’t mess with IB.” 

That was the message Tuesday from Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina to the International Boundary and Water Commission. Dedina said the city is ready to file a lawsuit against the IBWC. 

The City of Imperial Beach said 250-million gallons of raw sewage spilled into the Tijuana River Valley and Imperial Beach during a 17-day period earlier this year.  Mayor Dedina said it hasn’t stopped - and 670,000 more gallons of raw sewage flowed into the area Monday alone.

The sewage has closed beaches from Imperial Beach to Coronado this year and occasionally left an awful smell throughout IB.

“This part of our beach, the southern part of our beach over the last ten years has been closed for a total of three years,” said Mayor Dedina Tuesday. “I’m sad, angry, frustrated that I’m spending all my time trying to keep our beaches clean.”

Flanked by supporters, Dedina made several demands including increasing the capacity of the diversion facility at the IBWC wastewater treatment facility along the border, a clean-up of the canyon collection facilities where sewage and trash has piled up, and construction of a catchment basin to capture smaller rain storms and accidental spills.


Dedina added they would alert the IBWC to their intention to file a lawsuit if the commission doesn’t take immediate action.

“They have consistently allowed flow of toxic waste and toxic sewage into the United States,” he argued. “We’re unhappy that we have to take it to the next level and file a lawsuit against the federal government but we’re willing to do that.  We’re prepared to do that.”

IBWC Foreign Affairs Officer Sally Spener refuted the Mayor’s claims, “We haven’t been sitting here doing nothing.”

Spener listed a series of initiatives the IBWC labeled as concrete steps towards fixing the sewage problem along the border.  Among them, Spener said the commission has invested millions of dollars to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant, it’s installing three new flow meters to provide real time condition updates this month, and it has issued a trash boom study to locate ways to capture trash flowing over the border.