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Tijuana Sewer Main Break to Double Effluent in River

February 04, 1988

A break in a Tijuana sewer main is expected to result in 10 million gallons of raw sewage spilling into the Tijuana River--about double the normal amount of sewage dumped in the river, a San Diego County Department of Health Services spokesman said.

The break, which occurred Wednesday near a pump station in an area known as Stewart's Drain between the coast and the San Ysidro border crossing, has forced county health officials to post warning signs along the entire Imperial Beach coastline to Carnation Avenue, spokesman Lyn Wallis said. "It is certainly the largest spill . . . in quite some time," he said.

The amount of sewage dumped into the Tijuana River from Mexico varies from 3 million to 5 million gallons daily. "With the break, up to 10 million gallons will be coming down the river," he said.

Mexican authorities, Wallis said, will be responsible for fixing the sewer main, which is believed to have been broken accidentally when hit by a bulldozer.

"I have no idea how long (repairs) might take," he said.

He said officials with the county Department of Health Services and other agencies will test water samples along the Imperial Beach coastline today.

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