South Bay residents demand action on sewage spills - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

South Bay residents demand action on sewage spills

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SOUTH BAY (NEWS 8) – South Bay residents on Thursday voiced their frustration over sewage flows from Mexico during a forum hosted by the International Boundary and Water Commission.

Residents told the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) the sewage flows from Mexico are affecting their health and ruining their beaches.

Dozens of border agents have filed suits against the feds after some agents contracted flesh-eating bacteria. Cities and California’s top prosecutor have also filed lawsuits.

John Detommaso is an Imperial Beach resident and surfer. During Thursday’s forum he pressed the IBWC for answers. “Enough with the talking about tests. What is the action plan going to be to finally to this in Imperial Beach.” Detommaso told News 8 he continues to contract rashes from the sewage polluting the water.

“Ten years I have been coming here and nothing gets done. It’s the same every year,” he said.

Like Detommaso, many thought when last year’s massive spill of 250 million gallons of sewage from Mexico spewed into the Pacific Ocean something would change.

“We have no choice but to stand up and slug it out ourselves with heavyweight that is hitting us fast, hitting us often and very hard in Mexico,” said Baron Partlow, IBWC forum member.

The IBWC, which oversees the water treaties between the United States and Mexico, said work is being done; however, it could not comment about pending lawsuits filed against them by South Bay cities, the port, California’s state attorney general, and the San Diego Water Board. The lawsuits calls the IBWC negligent.

“I understand they want this resolved now. They don’t care how it happens, but a lot of these projects require a lot of funding,” said Carlos Peña, IBWC area operations manager.

To stop the sewage spills, some have estimated it would cost between $200 and $500 million, maybe even billions, but residents said the sewage spills are a public emergency and they want action now.

Water sampling is very important to the San Diego County Environmental Health Department, which talked about a monitoring program that would look at DNA rather than cells. Results would be available in four hours instead of one or two days. That program has not been approved for use in the state of California.

The IBWC commissioner Edward Drusina was appointed by President Barack Obama, but was removed by the current White House administration last month.

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