South Bay beaches closed after weekend rain

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IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. — The ocean shoreline from Imperial Beach down to the U.S.-Mexico border was closed Monday after rain moved across the county Saturday.

U.S. Border Patrol Agent, Justin Castrejon, shared photos with FOX 5 showing sewage-contaminated water flowing from Tijuana to areas along the border including Canyon Del Sol.

A study done in 2018 revealed high levels of contaminants in the water and agents are instructed to stay out of the water, Castrejon told FOX 5.

“As agents we face many challenges. A lot of those challenges are due to the contaminants that are flowing in from Mexico,” Castrejon said. “A lot of times agents who work the area will complain of headaches after the complete day is done. If they’re exposed to the water itself or the soil, often times they’ll report rashes and other sort of conditions.”

Imperial Beach Mayor, Serge Dedina, said, since November, an average of 50 million gallons of polluted water flows across the border daily, and that number spikes after it rains, leading to beach closures.

In December, San Diego’s congressional delegation secured $300 million in funding through the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal to address the problem. Dedina said the next step will be to meet with the EPA in early March. He plans to discuss earmarking that money for a diversion and treatment facility to capture sewage before it makes it to the ocean.

“It would stop what we’ve seen now with this constant flow of sewage in the river that we can’t stop,” Dedina said. “We’re also pressuring Mexico to fix their collapsing sewer system. That’s the most important thing as well.”

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