Coronado beaches as far north as Silver Strand are closed again due to millions of gallons of Tijuana sewage flow leaking into regional canyons and the oceans. Officials expect reopenings next week.
The issue arose when a private developer accidentally damaged a 60-inch pipeline south of Tijuana. In response, the State Public Services Commission of Tijuana shut down pumping stations, causing both transboundary flow into San Diego canyons and wastewater discharge into coastal waters.
Officials say contractors and CESPT staff are working 18-hour days to fix the issue, and a repair is expected by next week.
This is another in a long line of beach closures due to harmful bacteria in coastal waters. The federal government allocated $330 million in this year’s fiscal budget to mitigate the problem, with the Mexican government contributing another $144 million.
Coronado city beaches were put under advisory six times due to bacterial levels in 2022, according to the California Water Board. Silver Strand beaches were under bacterial advisory 15 times in the same timeframe.
The CESPT will divert the damaged line’s flow to a parallel line by February 22, the agency said, as soon as the eroded ground beneath and around secondary line can be stabilized with concrete. The damaged pipeline is projected to be repaired by the following week.
The United States loaned a Vactor sewer cleaner to Mexico to assist with the repair via the U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC), and additional volumes of wastewater is being treated at the South Bay International Wastewater Plant.
While officials say the repair should be enough to reopen beaches, it does not fix the problem of wastewater flow into San Diego canyons and coasts. The Environmental Protection Agency’s full solution will cost $630 million, leaving a gap between the funding that’s currently secured and what is needed.
However, with the current funding, the EPA estimates wastewater will be reduced by 76% once projects, including expansion of wastewater treatment plants and water recycling, are completed.
The largest of these projects, such as expansions to the SBIWP, will enter the design phase this year, and all the funded projects are projected for completion by 2027.
To check San Diego beach closures and conditions, please visit: SDbeachinfo.com
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