IB Mayor calls for federal commission director to be fired after massive raw sewage spill

143 million gallons of sewage dumped into river
Posted at 10:02 PM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-28 01:05:02-05

The Mayor of Imperial Beach wants the Director of the International Boundary and Water Commission to step down after San Diego County’s South Bay was inundated by a flow of raw sewage from Mexico.

“Poo. It smells like poop,” said Imperial Beach resident Felice Baxter. “You can’t even walk on the beach because of the odor."

She’s tired of the smell that has permeated homes and businesses for a month.

An IBWC report said roughly 143 million gallons of raw sewage was dumped in Mexico into the Tijuana River between February 6 and the 23.  However, Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina didn’t hear about it until the 23.

IBWC public information officer Lori Kuczmanski said the commission informed U.S. officials as soon as it learned about the sewage from Mexican officials.

“Pretty angry, upset, dismayed, disappointed, betrayed,” said Mayor Dedina, who is also President of the environmental group Wildcoast.

Dedina said the IBWC is not doing its job.

“Rather than let us know and try to stop it from happening, didn’t let us know and that’s unacceptable,” said Dedina, “Which is why I’ve called for the director of the International Boundary and Water Commission, Ed Drusina, to be fired or resign because of a complete dereliction of duty.”

He said Mexico was negligent by dumping the raw sewage into the Tijuana River but the IBWC dropped the ball.

“These smells that impact San Ysidro and south San Diego also heavily impact the residents of Tijuana,” said the Mayor. “Somewhere, either in the US or Mexico, someone’s making a decision to dump raw sewage into either the river or the ocean and that’s unacceptable.”

Dedina said he is especially disappointed because he has worked on environmental issues on both sides of the border for years. He said he has a good relationship with Mexican officials.

“Just betrayed, upset, dismayed, sad,” said Dedina.

The IB Mayor said he is hopeful progress will be made soon. He handed 10News a copy of a letter from the North American Development Bank that promised to work on improvements to Mexico’s infrastructure. Those improvements could prevent sewage odors in San Diego County in the future.