Every year, massive amounts of sewage are dumped into the Pacific Ocean polluting the water bodies. Sewage spills are a frequent problem that is not dealt properly according to environmentalists. Recently, a sewage spill in Mexico resulted in the dumping of 140 gallons of raw waste into Tijuana River that originates in Mexico and flows into California. The spilling continued for 2 weeks from February 2nd. The local authorities failed to identify the cause of the stench in some neighborhoods which lead to the late discovery of the raw sewage spill.
The Tijuana river has been polluted due to massive sewage spills from USA and Mexico in the past few years. The old sewage system and lack of plumbing infrastructure were blamed for the recurring problem.
The officials in the USA and Mexico have agreed for a bi-national investigation for the sewage spill. The International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) is responsible for maintaining water treaties between USA and Mexico. According to the report from IBWC, the spill started on February 2nd during a routine maintenance operation on a sewage collection pipe. When the authorities identified the spill after two weeks, the spill was contained, but several millions of gallons of raw waste had already reached the water by that time.
The polluted Tijuana River has affected several beaches in the San Diego area. It has greatly affected the coastal waters in California. Serge Dedina, the mayor of Imperial Beach, California has commented that the beaches were affected massively due to the largest spill in more than a decade. As a result, several beaches up to Coronado were closed down. A few beaches were opened on Sunday with numerous warning signs in red and yellow, restricting the beach goers.
Dedina has also commented that the spill was not politically motivated, though it was a deliberate action to receive support for the sewage pipeline repair work by Mexico. The mayor wants the US government to support Mexico in improving sewage infrastructure in Tijuana so that such a disaster doesn’t happen in the future.
The Tijuana State Public Service Commission announced that the spill was accidental and that it was caused by heavy rains. The disturbance from the rains resulted in the collapse of sewage interceptor. The sewage spill was reported to IBWC on February 23rd even though the spill started two weeks ago according to USA officials.
The beaches were closed because water polluted with raw sewage could result in various illnesses and infections. About 20 miles of coastland starting from Rosarito, Mexico to Coronado, California was affected due to the massive spill. The representatives from the states have requested the federal government to take actions to prevent such spills in the future.
Edward Drusina, the commissioner of IBWC commented that the information regarding sewage spills must be received by the commission in a timely manner. There is no confirmation on volume and duration of the spill from the IBWC officials. The investigation is likely to end by March so that the results are provided on April 1st.