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Beach Closed Following Sewage Spill

The Imperial Beach shoreline has been closed for swimming following a sewage spill less than a mile from the U.S.-Mexico border.

Updated 2:10 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to include additional details about the sewage spill.

Around 1 p.m. Tuesday Imperial Beach waters were closed to beachgoers following a sewage spill in Mexico. 

A spill of more than one million gallons of untreated sewage at Playas de Tijuana 3/4 of a mile from the border prompted the closure, according to San Diego County Department of Environmental Health officials.

Lifeguards actively removed people from the water, witnesses said.

Yellow signs indicating the closure have been posted.

Beaches from north Imperial Beach to the U.S.-Mexico border have been closed.

Silver Strand State Beach remains open.

The spill from a broken pipe was first detected by Tijuana water utility officials (CESPT) Monday evening and are working to make repairs, said Sally Spencer with the International Water and Boundary Commission.

Beach closures are a regular occurance during the wet season, but rarely occur during the dry summer season.

The signs will remain in place until samples show that bacteria levels have fallen within state water-quality standards.

Lenora Porcella August 28, 2012 at 09:42 PM
How sad at the peak of summer. It would be great is someone could explain how this happens and wha thte fix might be. I'm sure we all thought that this sort of thing would be prevented with the new treatment plant. I just don't understand...
Mark west August 28, 2012 at 10:40 PM
This one was not due to the treatment plant. The spill was in Mexico and was not part of the water that the treatment plant treats from Mexico. But it is sad, especially with the ssw swell coming.
Serge Dedina August 29, 2012 at 12:19 AM
First--thanks Mark for the summary. Tijuana authorities notified WiLDCOAST about the spill at Playas de Tijuana earlier today. The spill started last night--the estimate is that over one million gallons spilled. Apparently the pipe will be fixed tonight. A staffer from WiLDCOAST went down to visit the spill area with a federal government official so that this can be avoided in the future. We also notified the County of San Diego about the spill. What is important here is that the issue of south swell pollution and pipe breakdowns at Playas had been ignored by authorities and now they are recognizing the problem so we can fix the infrastructure. Follow Wildcoast on twitter and FB to receive updates on local ocean pollution and water quality conditions. Patch has also been doing an excellent job of keeping people informed as has Mark and Surfrider San Diego. Serge Dedina Executive Director WiLDCOAST
Lenora Porcella August 29, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Serge, I appreciate the exlanation. It seems like this happens all too often and we just wonder why someone can't "get it right". I'm glad WILDCOAST is on it and that someone is watching...
Glenn Gould August 29, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Not much comfort to those of us who were unwittingly exposed because of the slow dissemination of this crucial public health hazard.
Neil Anstedt August 29, 2012 at 01:27 PM
it was asked how we could fix this. Much like the boarder fence helps keep illegal aliens from coming accross our boarders we should build a barrier/wall that would extend out into the ocean for a roughly a half mile. This way when TJ has any missteps in sewage treatment, etc. it would hopefully be kept south or diluted enough by the time it would reach our shores. Just an idea...
Serge Dedina August 29, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Neil--the solution is to urge Tijuana authorities to upgrade infrastructure in Tijuana and work with the EPA, IBWC, County of San Diego, and Regional Water Board to get them to also urge TJ to do so. Let's be clear on this-up until recently, none of these agencies even recognized that south swell pollution and Playas spills even happened. Please support the efforts of Wildcoast to make this happen.
JaacFan August 29, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Please, folks, take the following comment as a rational thought, and not as just another political drumbeat: Government is necessary for the management of large issues, such as international sewage spills and hurricanes. Where would we turn today without the IBWC and the EPA? Where?
Paul Gallegos August 30, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Every damn time we are slated to get a swell, this brown trout comes floating our way.

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