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Continuing Flow In The Tijuana River Closes Imperial Beach Shoreline For Memorial Day

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Posted: Friday, May 31, 2019 11:48 am

Long-time South Bay resident, Mitchell McKay, decided to take a stroll out to the Tijuana River Estuary for a somber day of reflection on Memorial Day. What he says he experienced was “nose-high stench of an open pit toilet as my wife and I approached the mouth of the Tijuana River. A truly disgusting and saddening sight.”

What McKay found wouldn’t have surprised Citizens Against Sewage’s John Rendine. He has been monitoring the levels of flow in the Tijuana River using data provided by the U.S. International Boundary and Waters Commission (USIBWC) river gage. According to Rendine, the gage shows that the river has had constant flow over the last week of over 300 million gallons of “effluent.” Carlos Pena, Area Operations Manager for the USIBWC in San Diego, has not commented on the unrelenting flow. But he did make a public announcement on May 20, stating: “Mexico informed us this morning that Pump Station CILA was temporarily suspended yesterday evening due to the rainfall over the past few days. The flows in the Tijuana River are currently higher than the operational capacity of the Station. Mexico will inform us when they reinitiate operation of the Station.” Presumably, the Mexican station has not gone back on-line.

As a result of the flows of polluted water, beach closures were extended to include all of Imperial Beach beginning Sunday, just prior to the Memorial Day holiday. According to (which is currently the best source to determine specific beach closures in San Diego County), the Tijuana River status is at high-risk: “When flowing, beach water quality impacts and associated unhealthful conditions are imminent in the vicinity of the Tijuana River outlet. Tides, wind, near-shore ocean currents, and other factors determine how far north Tijuana Rivers impacts may extend.”

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