Tijuana River Spewing Sewage Into San Diego, Threatening Public Health

"Doctors have reported surges of gastrointestinal illness when intense storms like this week’s atmospheric rivers overwhelm wastewater treatment plants and flood communities with raw sewage."

"For Jose Cariman, the smell permeating his house is worst at night.

A retired, stay-at-home dad, Cariman lives in a single-family home in the Coral Gate community of San Diego’s San Ysidro District, about 2 miles from Tijuana—close enough that his wife’s family can walk over the border from Mexico for dinner.

“The only problem,” he said on Tuesday, “is I didn’t realize when I bought the house, the proximity to the Tijuana River and all the complications that come with it.”

Winding around 120 miles northward from Mexico to California before reaching the ocean on the U.S. side of the border, the Tijuana River carries millions—at times, billions—of gallons of sewage across the border each day. Extreme weather events like the unprecedented storms currently pummeling the San Diego area can overwhelm California’s and Tijuana’s sewage treatment plants, causing wastewater to overflow in South Bay communities, including San Ysidro, Imperial Beach and Coronado. Some estimates suggest that storms at the end of January sent at least 14.5 billion gallons of raw sewage into the Tijuana River Valley."

Kiley Price reports for Inside Climate News February 9, 2024.

Source: Inside Climate News, 02/12/2024