The governor of Baja California, Mexico, is demanding an apology from the mayor of Imperial Beach, California, United States, for suggesting that their state government still has more work to do to curb the movement of raw sewage to the U.S. from Mexico.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Governor Jaime Bonilla has now demanded an apology from Mayor Serge Dedina (D) on three separate occasions, starting after Dedina commended him for fixing broken sewage pumps, but suggested more work was needed.
“The vast amount of this contamination comes from American companies operating in Tijuana discharging their waste into the river, that’s where he needs to focus his attention,” Bonilla said during a press conference, according to Border Report.
Bonilla also told a Mexico-based news agency that he would not “allow a mayor to attack Mexico because of his political aspirations” and suggested that Dedina just wanted to become a U.S. senator, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Over the past three decades, the sewage infrastructure problem has been an ever-growing issue for Tijuana, Mexico, where raw sewage can travel to the United States via the Tijuana River Watershed, according to the California Water Board.
“The sewage flows degrade water quality in the Tijuana River Estuary and adjacent beach coastal waters and also pose a significant public health risk to residents and visitors along both sides of the border,” reads the California Water Board’s website.
According to The Associated Press, the Trump administration said it has been working with the Mexican government to develop a solution to the complex problem and has recently completed a $10.6 million project to address sewage spilling into the Tijuana River. Another project targeting the pump system in Tijuana is also underway, in addition to other purportedly temporary fixes until a more permanent solution is established.
One area of particular concern is the Punta Banderas pump, which is about six miles into Mexico, and dumps sewage into a beach south of the border. The sewage can then drift up the coast toward Imperial Beach, California, making the city’s residents sick.
Dedina recently remarked that Bonilla was making progress on the sewage problem, which he has referred to as a “sewage apocalypse,” and was eager to allow the beaches to safely re-open ahead of the Labor Day weekend, reports AP.
But Dedina, who the LA Times reports has personally gotten sick because of the pollution problem — as has his son — also says there is “a long way to go before we ever apologize” to the governor of Baja California.
“They’re taking water out of the river so there’s no flow, they’re sending it six miles south of the border dumping it in the beach so when there’s a south swell south wind, like there was on Labor Day, our beaches are massively polluted with pollution levels off the charts,” he said, reports Border Report.