Mayor reveals solution to massive sewage spill

Plan to keep pollution out of South Bay
Posted at 6:37 PM, Mar 15, 2017

Just one month after 200 million gallons of raw sewage leaked into the South Bay, city officials say they have a solution. 

The February spill forced several beaches to shut down from the contaminated water, leaving animals and people very sick. 

Officials say the raw sewage leaked into the Tijuana River when a Mexican pipe collapsed. Imperial Beach Serge Dedina revealed his game plan at Wednesday's City Council meeting. 

"All of the pressure that we've been putting on working with Mexican fed officials to help find a solution looks like they're gonna come to fruition," said Dedina. "So that's big news and that's really important news for us."

He says the solution is using a diverter pipe to help keep pollution from Mexico out of American waters.

"Any time it rains, the diverter pipe is turned off and that flow reaches our beaches. So it's critical that we work with authorities in Mexico to upgrade the pipe so they can actually keep it on longer and suck out more water. Number two, the long term plan for fixing the sewage system in Tijuana calls for stopping the discharge of that treated sewage in the river."

In addition to a new pipe, Mexican officials say they're going to upgrade their current system.

"The Mexican government is poised to release a plan to upgrade the sewage system in Tijuana that would solve most of our problems."

The governor of Baja California is set to declare a State of Emergency to help get additional funding for improvements. Mayor Dedina says the bill for damage control will fall entirely south of the border. 

"It needs to be made clear, Mexico is gonna pay for this."

Although this isn't the first time water has been polluted from Mexico, this latest spill might have a silver lining. 

"I think with this spill what happened is we put authorities on notice they need to do a better job of communicating and managing the system before we get any upgrades so that's something that we're going to continue to monitor."

Dedina says Mexico plans to start making improvements to their sewage system by the end of the year.