Beach Closes After Mexico Sewage Spill

Byline: Associated Press

IMPERIAL BEACH — A popular surfing beach remain closed for several days after a pipe broke in Tijuana, Mexico, and spewed nearly 3 million gallons of sewage into the Pacific Ocean, authorities said Aug. 29.

Sewage was going into the ocean at the rate of about 1,000 gallons a minute, forcing San Diego County authorities to close several miles of beach to swimmers, said Mark McPherson, chief of the county environmental health department’s land and water quality division.

Mexican authorities repaired the line later in the week, said Steve Smullen, operations manager in San Diego for the International Boundary and Water Commission.

“It’s a pretty deep line and the soil isn’t very good. It’s really sandy, so they were having difficulty opening the trench,” he said.             Aging infrastructure is believed to be the cause for the rupture, Smullen said.

Imperial Beach is often closed during winter when sewage from Tijuana spills into a valley on the U.S. side of the border. Smullen said waters off Imperial Beach are typically closed about two months out of the year.

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