Sewage spill now 230 million gallons

Posted at 8:50 PM, Mar 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-06 23:54:20-05

New video of the epic Tijuana sewage spill shows cars splashing through the waste as they pass by, the mess bubbling up into the roads. But the video isn't the only news from the border town. On Monday it was announced that the spill in the Tijuana River Valley is worse than originally thought.

Officials say they estimate 230 million gallons of raw sewage spilled into the water. The initial estimate was 143 million gallons. 

RELATED: Report: Sewage spill in Tijuana, Mexico, flowed north of the border for weeks

Pollution from Mexico has plagued the South Bay for decades. Now, a major accident is making headlines. Congressman Scott Peters learned of the new 230-million gallon number as he looked over the estuary.

"It's a pretty staggering number; this is a sensitive eco-system and it's been functioning as a sewer for the last little while," he said. "We want to make sure we get ahold of this infrastructure problem and this kind of thing doesn't happen again."

The Congressman is especially upset about the time it's taking to get answers about the spill.

"We didn't see that 'reach across the border' on either side and that's perplexing," he said. "People have been stonewalling but we have been asking; as soon as this sewage spill started, we could smell it in Imperial Beach."

37 years ago, then-Imperial Beach Mayor Brian Bilbray jumped onto a skip-loader and began building a dam in the valley. That got a lot of attention and led to promises. 

Today, he's a retired Congressman who thinks there's one solution.

"Tours aren't going to solve the problem," Bilbray said. "The key is he's got to be willing to be tough enough to tell Mexico there will be repercussions on Mexico if they pollute the United States side."

RELATED: Dead, sick wildlife at site of Tijuana sewage spill

Congressman Peters sent a letter to the secretary of state and the Environental Protection Agency asking for accountability. 10News will continue to follow the story, to see what response he Congressman Peters gets.