County Supervisors declare Public Health Crisis at Tijuana River Valley

Written by Natalia Toliver

On Tuesday, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted to declare a public health crisis regarding the pollution of the Tijuana River Valley. The area has suffered from poor air quality, sewage leaks, waste from industrial plants, tire waste, plastic pollution, sediment, and trash for many years.

“In declaring pollution at the Tijuana River Valley as a public health crisis, we are acknowledging that the diverse sources of contamination have a direct correlation to health outcomes in our South County and coastal communities,” the resolution stated. “As a public health agency for the region, the County, along with federal, state, and other local agencies, has a responsibility to address the issue head-on in order to improve the overall health of residents in our binational region.”

The decision was unanimous, with all 5 supervisors voting yes on the measure.

The pollution of the Tijuana River has become a major concern as the sewage has been moving into Imperial Beach and contaminating the public beach, leading to daily beach closures. Also, a new public campground is planned to open within the area this year.

Federal officials have proposed spending up to $300 million on pollution control projects. The goal of these projects is to slow the spread of cross-border sewage. Unfortunately, it remains unclear when these projects may begin. 

Since the Tijuana River Valley “impacts both sides of the border,” Supervisor Joel Anderson suggests the county reach out to the Biden Administration to work with Mexico in helping solve this complex issue.