SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina gave an update Wednesday to a San Diego City Council subcommittee on the sewage issues plaguing South Bay communities.
"We're spending all this money to try to stop sewage from destroying us, because that's money we're not spending making our lives, our kids and our families better in San Diego," Dedina told the city council's Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee.
Dedina told the committee of the environmental and financial impact of sewage flows from the Tijuana River, adding that they are getting worse.
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Last year, the issue forced beach closures for a total of 300 days. The IB Pier was closed for more than 150 days, and Silver Strand's coast was shut down for more than 50 days.
On the financial side, the federal government, under former President Trump, set aside $300 million for infrastructure through the EPA to tackle the issue, but that money has not yet been allocated.
California has put $15 million toward addressing the issue as well.
Dedina says Mexico is fixing some things on its side of the border, but it's not doing enough. He added that the current federal government is moving too slowly.
"When the Del Mar bluffs collapse and there's a potential for train collapse, SANDAG — thankfully — and the state of California, the federal government move immediately to fix it. When there's a sewage spill, everyone stands around and go, 'let's have a planning process for five years on the border,'" Dedina said during the meeting.
Councilmember Vivian Moreno, who lives in San Ysidro, said the issue impacts her community as well and it's affecting the overall quality of life throughout the South Bay.
"It's absolutely suffocating. Absolutely suffocating, and not only communities like the one I live in in San Ysidro, but Nestor and Egger Highland. They have been living with the odor of, you know, raw sewage just infiltrating their home," Moreno said.
No action was taken at the meeting on Wednesday, but local leaders hope the presentation raises more awareness about the ongoing problems that's now decades old.