“This was like a tsunami of sewage spills,” said Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina, who said he tried to get answers from officials on both sides of the border for more than a week with no response.
“What’s worse is it looks to me like this was deliberate,” he added. “It saves [the Mexican agencies] a lot of money in pumping costs, and ultimately, they can get away with it and do it all the time, just on a much smaller scale.”
The toxic discharge is estimated to have happened from Feb. 6 through Thursday, while repairs were made to a major sewer pipe near the confluence of Mexico’s Alamar and Tijuana rivers, according to the U.S. side of the International Boundary and Water Commission. Baja California’s State Public Service Commission maintains the sewer-system infrastructure in that area.
“They basically said it was a bypass of raw sewage into the Tijuana River during the rehabilitation of a large sewer pipeline in Tijuana,” said Lori Kuczmanski, spokeswoman for the U.S. side of the commission, which oversees international water treaties with Mexico, among other things.