IB mayor calls for federal investigation of unreported sewage sp - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

IB mayor calls for federal investigation of unreported sewage spill

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IMPERIAL BEACH (NEWS 8) - The mayor of Imperial Beach and a city councilmember called for a federal investigation Wednesday after an alleged toxic plume of sewage that spilled in Tijuana made its way to U.S. beaches late last week and got them and others sick.

According to a city press release, Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina was sickened after surfing at IB on Thursday, the first of two consecutive days that residents of the Playas de Tijuana community complained about the stench of sewage on their beachfront.

Water testing done by Tijuana Waterkeeper, a Mexican environmental protection organization, revealed elevated levels of pollution at Playas de Tijuana, according to the release, but officials in Mexico denied that any sewage spill ever occurred.

"We could start to taste it in the water. We could start to smell it in the water," said IB City Councilmember Mark West, who claims he was also sickened while surfing. "All these things are immediate indications and we were all like, 'What is going on?' No indication was given to anyone that a spill had occurred."

RELATED: Lawmakers aim to rehabilitate Tijuana River Valley

City officials said they reached out to officials in Mexico and called for assistance from the Department of Environmental Health and nothing came of it.

Mayor Dedina claimed that not only was the incident covered up by the Mexico, it was also responded to poorly by federal, state and local government.

"This is a failure on multiple levels," Dedina said. "The county of San Diego, the State of California, the United States Government, the Mexican federal government and, obviously, the state of Baja California that covered up and lied about the spill."

Mayor Dedina said that the lack of warning kept local officials from closing down affected beaches as they normally do to keep people out of the water and safe from pollution.

RELATED: San Diego joins Chula Vista, IB, Port in lawsuit over sewage spills

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