Federal officials are looking into the cause of a large sewage spill into the Tijuana River which eventually spread sewage up the coast from the border to Coronado. This sewage had been flowing and polluting the area for at least two weeks before being stopped. Though this is not the first time sewage has flowed through to the U.S. Side of the border, it is likely one of the largest, and some say it was intentional.
Residents of Imperial Beach, a small city which sits just north of the U.S. – Mexico Border, have been complaining of a huge stinky smell over the entire region since the flow of sewage began around the beginning of February. It turns out that sewage was deliberately released into the Tijuana River because of work being done on the pipeline on the Mexican side of the border. However, instead of rerouting the water back into the treatment system, it was, instead released into the river bed. Authorities on both sides of the border are investigating why this happened and why authorities on the U.S. side were not notified.
Some residents have noticed a rising number of sick and dead wildlife along the shoreline. The area immediately north of the border is home to the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve. This reserve hosts a large concentration of birds and sea life, including some endangered species. Many birds rely on this area for food and habitat. People have been posting photos on social media of dead birds and sick seals.
Though the leak is said to have been stopped, it will be some time before the sewage will break down and the smell will dissipate. Fortunately, the beaches were already closed due to runoff from the recent storms. Signs are still posted in the area and visitors and residents are still encouraged to stay out of the water even though the weather has improved.