Port, Chula Vista take action to halt border sewage spill

SAN DIEGO -- The sewage flowing in the Tijuana River to the Pacific Ocean has city officials from Chula Vista and the Port of San Diego teaming up with Imperial Beach to deliver a notice of intent to sue the federal government for violation of the Clean Water Act and violation of their permit to discharge.

"I don't think it's unreasonable at all to spend a billion dollars to clean up the sewage treatment plant. It is the responsibility of the federal government to protect the thousands of people on that beach," said Dan Malcolm, Port Commissioner of the Unified Port of San Diego.

In the last 3 years, over 300,000,000 gallons of sewage has dumped into the Pacific Ocean near Imperial Beach and causing a health risk to thousands of residents and visitors coming to the beach daily, according to the Imperial Beach mayor.

 

The contaminated water is so alarming that it's turned away people from out of state who were looking into moving to the area, according to Melina Wolicki, a realtor who had a client recently back out of a sale because of water contamination.

"She's from San Francisco she got concerned. When we had the 40 million gallons of raw sewage and she said 'I understand,'" Malcolm said.

Some locals said the sewage issues are contaminating their reputation.

"We don't have a great rep out here. Everyone looks down on IB and South Bay," said Jan Westberg, who lives near the beach.

The federal government has 60 days to respond to the notice and if they don't then the next step is sending it to federal court.