The County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health extended the existing closure area at the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge shoreline north to include all of Imperial Beach, officials announced Sunday.
Sewage-contaminated runoff in the Tijuana River has been entering the Tijuana Estuary as a result of recent rainfall and it’s believed that contamination of the ocean is likely near the beach. Signs warning of sewage contaminated water will remain in place until sampling indicates the water is safe for recreational use.
Meanwhile, earlier Sunday, a San Diego-based advocacy group appeared at the border to call on the federal government to curb the pollution from the Tijuana River Valley.
They spoke out at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in order to call attention to the flow of untreated sewage, chemicals and garbage into waters along the county’s coast.
“We are only as good as the people around us,” said Baron Partlow, the organzier. “We need everyone to come together in our desperate cry for help as we fight for our lives. Enough is enough! It is time to stop being the nice guy.”
Partlow and his group argue that closing the border will stem the flow of polluted waters from Mexico into the U.S.
Local and state officials as well as environmental advocates have decried the pollution issue for decades.
The county also has an ongoing beach closure from the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge to Border Field State Park due to the pollution.
Last month, California senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein and congressional representatives sent a letter to federal agencies and the International Boundary and Water Commission calling for officials to address the state of the river valley.
Litigation on the issue is pending.
The San Diego Surfrider Foundation filed suit against the IBWC last year, alleging repeated violations of the Clean Water Act and negligence for ignoring the health and safety of county residents.
Imperial Beach and Chula Vista and the Port of San Diego have joined the lawsuit. The city of San Diego is involved in a similar lawsuit with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. The state case is scheduled to go to trial next year.
– City News Service
Updated 8:50 p.m. May 26, 2019
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