CORONADO, Calif. — The International Boundary and Water Commission U.S. Sector met in Coronado Wednesday night to discuss the ongoing Tijuana River Sewage Crisis.
They are planning to work in conjunction with the county to install new sensors to better collect data on the issue.
“We kind of have put ourselves in the status of a third world nation,” shared one concerned resident who attended the meeting over the constant infamous odor plaguing the South Bay.
“There’s a lot of money being spent, but there are no tangible projects to solve the problem,” shared Leon Benham, who is IBWC Board Member and President of Citizens for Coastal Conservancy.
The South San Diego beaches residents and tourists know, and love are no longer known for its sights but rather closures.
“Tropical Storm Hilary really caused some damage, so we’re trying to repair that,” explained Frank Fisher with the International Boundary and Water Commission.
When heavy rain falls, bacteria come with it, streaming down the Tijuana River right into the ocean.
“We had to boil our own water, that’s the first time that ever happened in my lifetime,” shared Baron Partlow who is the founder of a local group known to fight the sewage crisis called ‘Stop the Poop.’
Right now, the County’s Air Pollution Control District is installing AQMesh sensors near the Tijuana River Valley and throughout surrounding areas. The collected data will then be shared with general public along with other agencies as a tool to address the ongoing issues.
One is currently installed in San Ysidro, but residents say it’s fairly far away from where the smell of these odors are actually coming form. They say sensors along the Imperial Beach Pier would be one of the preferable spots.
Right now, leaders with the USIWBC says they’re beginning to fix the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant, something they say could take 9 to 12 months.
But are the changes fast enough? A predicted El Niño year could turn too much of a good thing into something damaging yet again in the South Bay.
“That facility has years, if not decades, of deferred maintenance of insufficient investments in it and has been out of compliance since 2019,” shared Paloma Aguirre, who is the Mayor of Imperial Beach.
More than $300 million has been promised to fix the issue, but that money has been stuck in congress, one of the main reasons why a solution has been slow moving in the South Bay.