SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - While the federal government is requesting billions of dollars to build a wall at the border, state Sen. Ben Hueso and Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina say it has failed repeatedly to act on this serious contamination issue that has plagued the Tijuana River Valley, Imperial Beach residents, businesses and tourism in the San Diego region for 30 years.
On Friday, just three days after President Trump's visit to the border, Hueso and Dedina held a news conference regarding the state's position on the Tijuana River Valley sewage problems.
Hueso and Dedina were joined by Matt O'Malley, the executive director and managing attorney of San Diego Coastkeeper and Oscar Romo of the Tijuana River Valley Recovery Team.
Hueso told the media at the news conference, “This is a problem that needs some immediate action.”
Hueso, a former San Diego city councilman, said he has reached his limit in trying to work with the International Boundary and Water Commission on resolving the problem, but he said Trump’s visit earlier this week to view border wall prototypes was the last straw.
“He comes in a helicopter, lands at the border, does his photo op and leaves. We don’t think there’s any real interest [from] this president to fix anything here in the state. So, we only have the judicial process to really resolve this problem.”
Lance Rogers with Citizens Against Sewage added, “This would be essentially testing the water in a well-used porta potty before it was cleaned; you’d get numbers along these levels.”
Earlier this month County environmental health officials issued a water contact closure for Imperial Beach's shoreline>, expanding an existing contact closure along the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge shoreline.
The closure now extends north to include all of Imperial Beach.
Hueso said, “We have a real problem here, and it’s a problem that has spanned decades and we just don’t think IBWC can fix it.”
Hueso has written a resolution urging the federal government to take action to stop the pollution. The resolution also calls on state and local governments in San Diego County to initiate lawsuits demanding the same.
“If we get the governor to file a lawsuit now, it could take weeks. If we have to go through the judicial process, it could take months,” said Hueso.
Hueso told 10News if the president can find $20 billion for a border wall, he can find a few hundred million to fix a problem that has caused numerous health problems for people in San Diego.