Tijuana River Flow Closes Imperial Beach Beaches For Memorial Day - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado City News

Tijuana River Flow Closes Imperial Beach Beaches For Memorial Day

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Posted: Monday, June 3, 2019 3:44 pm

Long-time South Bay resident, Mitchell McKay, decided to take a stroll out to the Tijuana River Estuary for a somber day of reflection on Memorial Day. What he says he experienced was “nose-high stench of an open pit toilet as my wife and I approached the mouth of the Tijuana River. A truly disgusting and saddening sight.”

What McKay found wouldn’t have surprised Citizens Against Sewage’s John Rendine. He has been monitoring the levels of flow in the Tijuana River using data provided by the U.S. International Boundary and Waters Commission (USIBWC) river gage. According to Rendine, the gage shows that the river has had constant flow over the last week of over 300 million gallons of “effluent.” Carlos Pena, Area Operations Manager for the USIBWC in San Diego, has not commented on the unrelenting flow. But he did make a public announcement on May 20, stating: “Mexico informed us this morning that Pump Station CILA was temporarily suspended yesterday evening due to the rainfall over the past few days. The flows in the Tijuana River are currently higher than the operational capacity of the Station. Mexico will inform us when they reinitiate operation of the Station.” Presumably, the Mexican station has not gone back on-line.

As a result of the flows of polluted water, beach closures were extended to include all of Imperial Beach beginning Sunday, just prior to the Memorial Day holiday. According to SDbeachinfo.com (which is currently the best source to determine specific beach closures in San Diego County), the Tijuana River status is at high-risk: “When flowing, beach water quality impacts and associated unhealthful conditions are imminent in the vicinity of the Tijuana River outlet. Tides, wind, near-shore ocean currents, and other factors determine how far north Tijuana Rivers impacts may extend.”

As of Memorial Day Monday, the Coronado beaches remained open. If the flows and current south swell are maintained, however, the closures could move further north as they have done a number of times this year.

In the event that either Silver Strand or Central beach is closed, the City of Coronado could decide to employ its new policy on Nixle notifications to include beach closures. Over 140 individuals signed an on-line petition requesting that Nixle notifications be expanded to include notifications when Coronado beaches are closed since the pollution in the water has serious health effects. The Coronado City Council voted just last week to approve a policy for Nixle notifications, but it is not yet clear if it will be implemented to include beach closures. The new policy reads that: “Nixle notifications will be limited to urgent events with the potential for widespread effects … Nixle notifications will only be issued for: road closures or shut downs of major roadways, such as the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, Silver Strand State Highway or Orange Avenue; aircraft operations, which is the use of an aircraft to make public notifications while flying; locating missing at-risk individuals or suspects in the community; and emergency situations resulting in imminent threat to life or property, disaster and/or evacuation notifications.”

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