A sewage spill that federal officials said started Monday night south of the border continues to flood the Tijuana River with millions of gallons of raw effluent. A ruptured collector pipe in southeast Tijuana is leaking roughly 7 million gallons a day of sewage into the river, according to the U.S. section of the International Boundary and Water Commission.
The equivalent of more than six million gallons a day of raw sewage has been spilling into the Tijuana River since Monday night, according to federal officials. The U.S. section of the International Boundary and Water Commission, or IBWC, said Tuesday that counterparts in Mexico informed the agency that the cause of the sewage leak was a ruptured collector pipe.
Cross-border water pollution between Tijuana and South San Diego is not new, but in recent years, the problem has grown worse. The reasons are complicated: There is Tijuana’s topography, with its steep hillsides and canyons that drain towards the border; the factories that get away with illegal dumping; the city’s rapid population growth, aging wastewater infrastructure and inadequate garbage collection. In the U.S., funding cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency have prevented improvements to the Borderlands’ sewage system.
Oxnard and Port Hueneme beach closures in recent years shared the same culprit — the Oxnard wastewater treatment plant. When the power goes out and the backup generator doesn’t kick in, wastewater that’s not fully treated heads straight to the ocean.
From the San Jose Mercury News, in a commentary by Richard Santos:
In the midst of exceptional drought conditions, a new, locally controlled, drought-proof water source for Silicon Valley could not have come at a better time. The Santa Clara Valley Water District, in partnership with the cities of San Jose and Santa Clara, is celebrating the completion of the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center.
The most radical “green” features of the City of San Jose’s new Environmental Innovation Center are concealed behind two doors marked “Women” and “Men.” There, plopped between the other conventional stalls, are two “composting toilets,” the first ever installed in a California office building.
Sixty million gallons of wastewater are pulled from sewer pipes and into the Fresno municipal wastewater treatment plant every day. … The plant managers plan to treat to a higher level and disinfect the water so it can be used to irrigate schoolyards, golf courses, and cemeteries.
“The Ross Valley Sanitary District has known for a long time that its sewer system is old and failing. … In addition, the district has been slapped with costly fines by the state San Francisco Bay Water Regional Quality Control Board, the agency assigned to stem pollution.”
“The California State Water Resources Control Board says the new rules were created in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s drought declaration in January. The board says now there are more streamlined rules around the production and use of recycled water for irrigation.”
“Concerned about plans to develop a former sewer treatment site and the capacity of the current treatment plant, Marin residents urged the Ross Valley Sanitary District on Wednesday to oppose Larkspur’s draft housing and business development proposal.”
“Last year, the Antioch couple learned they were being charged for Delta Diablo Sanitation District sewer service despite never being connected to the district’s system. Their home, built in 1980, is on a septic tank.”
“With mere inches to spare, crews gently lowered a 70,000-pound disc of steel into place at the city’s wastewater treatment plant on Thursday, marking a milestone in a $1.5 million project expected to conclude this summer.”
“At two treatment plants in El Dorado Hills, millions of gallons of brown wastewater pour in every week, and millions of gallons of clean water pour out through purple pipes that irrigate the lawns of 4,000 homes.