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Imperial Beach residents could breathe easier with new pump installation underway once again

New pump installation
Posted at 8:21 AM, Nov 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-28 11:21:13-05

IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. (KGTV) -- Imperial Beach residents may start breathing easier Tuesday, as a new pump is set to be installed at the Hollister Street Pumping Station.

In August, 20,000 gallons of sewage spilled out of the pumping station when a sump pump failed.

Since then, Imperial Beach residents said they have dealt with a strong, lingering odor that has permeated their neighborhoods and disrupted their way of life.

In October, the International Boundary & Water Commission (IBWC) said it would install a new pump and have it completed by end of day.

However, a new release on Oct. 17 stated the installation was suspended until further notice, due to unforeseen issues.

There has not been an update until now.

Residents at the time of August spillage told ABC 10News how frustrated they were with the persisting issue.

Ernesto Ruiz, an Imperial Beach resident, said, "Honestly, when I started living here 20 years ago, I was really happy. The last five years, the smell has been pretty bad."

Naomi Rodriguez, another Imperial Beach resident, spoke about how the sewage issues have affected her family.

"During the last couple of summers, we weren't able to come down here to the beaches in IB," Rodriguez said. "So, it's really sad and frustrating."

Haley Wolf, a concerned mother living in Imperial Beach, added, "Our children aren't thriving here because they can't breathe. They can't drink the water, they can't play in the water, they can't enjoy nature."

IBWC said it would be shutting off the collectors in both Goat Canyon and Smugglers Gulch at 6 a.m. Tuesday to prevent overflow at the Hollister Street Pumping Station.

IBWC expects for the new pump installation to be completed by the end of Tuesday.

To read the full update from IBWC officials, see below:

The United States Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) is reporting that a new pump will be installed at Hollister Pump Station tomorrow morning, Tuesday, November 28. Installation should be completed by the end of the day. The pump station will be out of service during the pump installation.

Both Goat Canyon and Smugglers Gulch canyon collectors will be taken out of operation at 6AM tomorrow morning to prevent obstructive flow through the pump station during the installation. This will result in transboundary flows estimated at less than 200,000 gallons.

Any further pertinent information will be provided in a future update.
The International Boundary & Water Commission