‘Stop the poop’: San Diego closes entire shoreline on Memorial Day because of sewage flow from Mexico

Not only is the U.S. facing the consequences of a massive wave of humanity flowing across the southern border from Mexico, but is now dealing with the flow of sewage coming from its southern neighbor.

More than 110 million gallons of toxic stormwater since April.

The San Diego County Department of Environmental Health closed the Imperial Beach shoreline to swimmers due to sewage contamination flowing from Mexico’s Tijuana River, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Contamination resulted in the southern part of Imperial Beach being closed since November, and that was extended Sunday to include the city’s entire shoreline, the paper reported.

The closure will remain until testing shows that the water is safe to swim, but local residents have had enough.

“Stop the poop,” read signs held by protesters at a rally Sunday morning calling on officials to address the pollution crisis.

A San Diego-based community advocacy group is calling on the federal government to stop untreated sewage, chemicals and garbage from the Tijuana River Valley polluting coastal waters, CBS 8 reported.

“We are only as good as the people around us,” said the group’s founder, Baron Partlow. “We need everyone to come together in our desperate cry for help as we fight for our lives. Enough is enough! It is time to stop being the nice guy.”

The rally was held at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

More from the Union-Tribune on the cause of the problem:

San Diego is at the end of large watershed that starts in the mountains in and around Tijuana. When it rains, water rushes across the city picking up trash and other pollution as it flows northwest eventually into the Pacific Ocean.

The federal government has a collection system to divert flows in the river valley’s major canyons, such as Goat Canyon and Smuggler’s Gulch. Much of the polluted flows are sent to the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment plant.


The problem is, the system is reportedly easily overwhelmed when it rains, resulting in sewage-tainted runoff.

California Democrats recalcitrant to secure the border are quick to call on the federal government to stop the flow of sewage.

Sens. Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein, along with several members of the U.S. House, sent a letter to the Dept. of State, Environmental Protection Agency, Customs and Border Protection, Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. section of the International Boundary and Water Commission calling for them to address the state of the Tijuana River Valley, CBS 8 reported.

There is also legal action underway – more from the CBS affiliate:

Local jurisdictions and organizations have also sought to address the issue through litigation. The San Diego Surfrider Foundation filed suit against the IBWC last year, alleging repeated violations of the Clean Water Act and negligence for the health and safety of county residents.

The cities of Imperial Beach and Chula Vista and the Port of San Diego have joined the organization’s lawsuit as plaintiffs. The city of San Diego is involved in a similar lawsuit with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. The latter suit is scheduled to go to trial next year.


The federal government argues that it isn’t legally responsible for the flows that escape their collection systems.

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Tom Tillison


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