FACTS about the “Largest Sewage Spill in a Decade”


You probably already have seen it on the news, or on your Facebook/Twitter feed but here are some important facts you need to know about this MASSIVE SPILL!

Between February 6 and February 23, over 143 million gallons of raw sewage was sent into the Tijuana River, in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. This sewage reached the Pacific Ocean heavily polluting beaches from Rosarito, Baja California to Coronado, California and potentially further, impacting over 25 miles of coastline.

Here are some other facts and things you should be aware of:

  • The spill had nothing to do with the recent rainfall although the problem was made worse by the substantial flow in the river and south winds associated with the storm.
  • This is the largest sewage spill in recent history! Here is a list of recent sewage spills around the world: http://bit.ly/2m14bw3
  • The spill dumped about ¼ of the volume in sewage into the Pacific that the BP Deepwater Horizon spill dumped in oil into the Gulf over a two week period
  • The spill was caused by a malfunction during a routine rehabilitation of a sewage collector in Mexico
  • Mexican authorities did not report the spill to the International Boundaries and Water Commission (IBWC) until February 23.
  • STAY OUT OF THE OCEAN in Imperial Beach and Coronado until water quality tests show that it is clean
  • Check for “Beach Closure” signs before you go into the water.

We want ACTION and demand:

  • A federal investigation into the spill.
  • New plan for an upgraded sewage system in Tijuana as funding priority.
  • Fixing water quality problems and not any further progress on ocean desalination in the region until this is achieved.
  • Rapid communication between the IBWC and agencies in Mexico when any spills occur.

What to get involved? Here is what you can do:

Join WILDCOAST and Surfrider San Diego Chapter, TODAY at the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) meeting and demand action against Tijuana’s sewage spill.

Date and Time: March 2nd, 2017 at 5:30 PM

Location: Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center, 301 Caspian Way, Imperial Beach, CA 91932.

Community members will be encouraged to write letters to their state representatives, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Juan Vargas.

Want to take action from your own home? Write a letter or call your state reprensetatives:

Sen. Kamala Harris

600 B Street, Suite 2240

San Diego, CA  92101

Phone (619) 239 – 3884

Fax (202) 228 – 3863

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

880 Front Street, Suite 4236
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 231-9712
Fax: (619) 231-1108

Rep. Juan Vargas

333 F Street, Suite A

Chula Vista, CA 91910

Phone: 619-422-5963
Fax: 619-422-7290

Rep. Scott Peters

4350 Executive Drive, Suite 105

San Diego, CA 92121

phone: 858-455-5550

Tell them that we demand:

  • Federal investigation into recent spill.
  • New NADB (North American Development Bank) plan for Tijuana upgrading sewage system a funding priority.
  • Fixing water quality problems and not desal as a priority on the border.

It is critical that government agencies work with Mexico to reduce unnecessary sewage flows in the Tijuana River and improve management of infrastructure that helps prevent beach closures due to hazardous pollutants in South San Diego. This has been a recurring problem in the Tijuana River Valley and the most recent untreated sewage spill is not acceptable.

Remember, it’s important to include your name and address in your letter and tell them why having your beaches clean is important to you!