The storm that hit the San Diego-Tijuana region on Monday sent more than 14,000,000,000 gallons of sewage flow straight into San Diego County according to the International Boundary and Water Commission.
Most of the effluent flows through the Tijuana River Valley along the river, which originates in Mexico, but a lot of the untreated sewage also enters the U.S. via canyons and ravines that feed the river north of the border and drains into Southern California, eventually emptying into the Pacific Ocean. Local environmental officers liken it to a toilet.
Now, animals are being found on Californian beaches, dead from sepsis caused by bacteria traced back to sewage-contaminated water. Researchers are finding antibiotic-resisting genes in some of the bacteria contained in the waste and toxic sludge.
Some good news broke last week. Mexico’s military began the long-awaited reconstruction of a defunct wastewater treatment plant near Tijuana. The Mexican federal infrastructure project, which broke ground last week, aims to minimize the amounts of raw sewage that has for years been spilling into the Pacific Ocean.
It can’t come too soon.