NewsLocal News


Imperial Beach coastline closed due to 3.5 million gallons of sewage runoff from Tijuana

Posted at 7:15 PM, Jun 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-28 15:06:18-04

IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. (KGTV)— South Bay beaches are closed again, after millions of gallons of contaminated sewage water spilled from Tijuana, BC into Imperial Beach communities.

It may look beautiful from afar, but up close, Giovanny Ceja says the waves were a little off Thursday afternoon.

“We usually go to other beaches, and they look really clear, but that one was dirty and brown,” Ceja said.  

Ceja and his little sister spent the day at Imperial Beach, near the south end of Seacoast Drive, boogie boarding and building sand castles. To get there, he walked right past many warning signs. Large yellow signs read: “KEEP OUT. SEWAGE CONTAMINATED WATER.”

“It’s a completely unacceptable,” Imperial Beach City Councilwoman Paloma Aguirre says.

According to the International Boundary Water Commission, a Tijuana water collector ruptured Wednesday night. That spilled 3.5 million gallons of sewage water into the Tijuana River, which gushed into South Imperial Beach.

“It’s incredibly frustrating because this is the summer. This is our time to have open beaches in Imperial Beach,” Aguirre said. “It’s because of the incredible negligence that the state of Baja California authorities have shown and the lack of accountability and leadership from our federal agencies.”

So far this year, there have been 50 beach closure days in Imperial Beach. Aguirre says as polluted water gushes into IB, quality of life gushes out.

“At the end of the day Imperial Beach is at the end of the pipe,” Aguirre said. “We are the ones that are paying with economic losses, with illnesses to our kids, to our families, and to our environment.”

As for little Giovanny, who did not notice the warning signs, now he is getting worried.

“When I was boogie boarding the water wet in my mouth,” Ceja said. “I’ll shower. Maybe twice.”

THe closure only affects beaches south of Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach to the US-Mexico border. The IB Pier remains open.