A new report estimates Mexico has allowed the flow of more than a hundred million gallons of toxic contamination into United States waters, specifically off the coast of San Diego, California.
BizPac Review reports more than 110 million gallons of toxic stormwater has reached the U.S. since April.
According to the report, Imperial Beach in San Diego was partially closed during this time because of how the contamination could affect swimmers. As the situation continues to worsen, the entire beach has been forced to close.
The San Diego County Department of Environmental Health closed the Imperial Beach shoreline to swimmers due to sewage contamination flowing from Mexico’s Tijuana River, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Contamination resulted in the southern part of Imperial Beach being closed since November, and that was extended Sunday to include the city’s entire shoreline, the paper reported.
The closure will remain until testing shows that the water is safe to swim, but local residents have had enough.
Here’s how the Mexican sewage water ends up in U.S. waters, via the San Diego Union-Tribune:
San Diego is at the end of large watershed that starts in the mountains in and around Tijuana. When it rains, water rushes across the city picking up trash and other pollution as it flows northwest eventually into the Pacific Ocean.
The federal government has a collection system to divert flows in the river valley’s major canyons, such as Goat Canyon and Smuggler’s Gulch. Much of the polluted flows are sent to the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment plant.
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However, the system is easily overwhelmed when it rains, and sewage-tainted runoff has fouled beaches in San Diego for decades.
The situation has gotten so bad that the state of California and some California cities are suing the U.S. government for failing to stop the influx. The federal government, however, says it is not their fault:
The plaintiffs would like to see a beefed-up diversion system and funding for sewage infrastructure in Tijuana.
The defense attorneys argue the federal government isn’t legally responsible for the renegade flows that escape their collection systems. They point out that the situation would be significantly worse without its network of pumps and capture basins.
Tijuana’s aging and limited sewer system has in recent years struggled to serve the region’s growing population. Experts and government officials agree that hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure funding is needed to keep water pollution from spilling over the border.