IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. – City leaders in Imperial Beach are asking the federal government to investigate a toxic spill that polluted area beaches and sickened surfers last week.
“On Friday morning you could really tell. You paddle out you think it’s fine and all of sudden you’re immersed in this smell it’s sewage. And the water is kind of has a little bit of a film on it. It’s a really awful feeling,” said Mayor of Imperial Beach, Serge Dedina.
The sewage spill happened on Thursday, Oct. 26, and continued the next day, officials said. They believe the sewage flowed into the ocean near Playas de Tijuana and flowed north, contaminating the waters off of Imperial Beach. Several surfers, including Imperia Beach Mayor Serge Dedina, became ill after surfing in the polluted waters on Friday, Oct. 27, according to a city news release.
“We are asking for State Department investigation into this sewage spill that significantly impacted public health in Imperial Beach," Dedina said in the news release. "Like the massive February spill, it appears that authorities in Baja California who run the sewage agency, CESPT, are more concerned with covering up pollution than protecting public health."
During the February spill referred to by Dedina, and estimated 30 million gallons of untreated sewage flowed into the Tijuana River and was carried north by ocean currents, polluting coastal waters from Imperial Beach to Coronado.
“All the signs are there for sewage but because one person in Tijuana the director of the state agency lies about the sewage spill no one on the US side of the border bothers doing any research to find out if something actually happened. So that has to change That’s what happened in February, and that’s what happened this time,” said the Mayor.