Mexican Sewage, Toxic Waste Draw Lawsuit Threat From Cities

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By Carolyn Whetzel

Toxic waste and sewage continue to flow from the Tijuana River to the Pacific Ocean, and California cities along the U.S.-Mexican border are ready to bring a lawsuit to halt it.

Imperial Beach, Chula Vista, and the San Diego Unified Port District Sept. 28 notified the International Boundary and Water Commission and Veolia Water North America-West LLC which operate the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant in San Diego, that they plan to sue over the discharges unless this issue is addressed within 60 days.

“Enough is enough,” Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina said in a statement.

Dedina and Imperial Beach have been leading the charge to force the binational commission to improve flood control and water quality in the Tijuana River, which crosses the border before emptying into the ocean off Imperial Beach.

More than 300 sewage spills have occurred since 2015, often right past the sewage plant, according to the notice. Toxic waste dumped across the border also flows into the river and ocean, it said.

Neither the binational commission nor Veolia Water responded to Bloomberg BNA’s requests for comment.

In August, the commission told Bloomberg BNA that efforts are underway to increase the South Bay treatment plant’s capacity to carry out secondary treatment of sewage, monitor the river’s water quality, install additional flow meters on both sides of the border, and expand the plant’s pump and diversion systems.

To contact the reporter on this story: Carolyn Whetzel in Los Angeles at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at

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The intent to sue notice is available at

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