Surfrider Foundation announces intention to sue over toxic Tijuana River sewage spills

Posted at 8:20 PM, May 14, 2018

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The Surfrider Foundation in San Diego Tuesday announced it intends to file a lawsuit in hopes of putting a stop to the toxic waste that flows in the Tijuana River Valley.

The group’s announcement comes one day after the San Diego Regional Water Control Board said it too intends to sue the International Boundary and Water Commission, which is the federal agency responsible for monitoring the water.

The cities of Imperial Beach and Chula Vista along with the Port of San Diego have already filed a lawsuit against the commission for allowing sewage to flow from the river into the U.S.

RELATED: South Bay leaders file lawsuit over Tijuana sewage spills

The toxic waste that flows into Imperial Beach from the Tijuana River has hospitalized Border Patrol agents with skin rashes and burned lungs. Some even found their boots dissolved by the dangerous chemicals.

Over the last year, the board says the near-weekly spills into the Tijuana River have totaled more than 150 million gallons.

Gabriella Torres with the Surfrider Foundation said, “It is the mandate of the IBWC to handle issues concerning trans-border flows and contamination, there's no other agency that is better agency to handle this responsibility and it is upsetting that it had to get to this point.”

“I've been contaminated myself. This is our work environment and it's not right to expect us to work in this,” said Chris Harris with the National Border Patrol Council. “I think it's a big wake-up call for people in [Washington] D.C. and kind of validates everything we've been telling them.”

Last week, President Donald Trump fired the commissioner overseeing the flows into the Tijuana River Valley.

The IBWC has 60 days to introduce a plan before the lawsuits are filed.