Saturday, September 30, 2023

Tijuana Sewage Flows into Coastal Water and Canyons, Prompts Coronado Beach Closures

Image taken on February 11th, 2023. Current closures include Coronado beaches as far north as Silver Strand.

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:

Image screenshot taken at 1pm PST on February 17, 2023. Image courtesy of


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Megan Kitt
Megan Kitt
Megan's work as a journalist has taken her around the world, from across the United States to Tokyo and Kampala, but her passion lies in community reporting. She believes a quality news publication strengthens a community by informing and connecting its members. She holds BA degrees in journalism, English literature and creative writing; an MA degree in creative writing; and her photography has been published internationally. While on a reporting assignment in Uganda, she founded Tuli, a fair trade fashion brand that earned her industry acclaim, most notably by earning her the title Designer to Watch at New York Fashion Week in 2022. Megan's diverse experience in travel and career taught her to approach reporting eager to understand the many experiences and perspectives that make life so interesting. When she's not working, you can find Megan wrangling her two toddlers, hiking with her husband, and binging podcasts.Have a story for The Coronado Times to cover? Send news tips or story ideas to: [email protected]