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Clean Border Water Now Lawsuit Settlement

04 • 12 • 2022

Clean Border Water Now Lawsuit Settlement

Surfrider Achieves Major Victory to Improve Ocean Water Quality and Protect Public Health on the US-Mexico Border

The Surfrider Foundation is thrilled to announce that its Clean Water Act lawsuit, which addresses the decades-long issue of water pollution at the US-Mexico border, has now been successfully resolved after nearly four years.

The settlement of the lawsuit will: 1) improve ocean water quality on the south San Diego County - Tijuana coastline; 2) strengthen monitoring, communications, and reporting efforts; and 3) advance infrastructure improvements and pollution response. The settlement will help resolve one of the most egregious Clean Water Act violations in the nation, affecting more than 20 miles of binational coastline on the US-Mexico border. 

Dangerous pollutants (including sewage, chemicals, heavy metals, physical trash and other contaminants), flow through the Tijuana River Valley and into the Pacific in south San Diego County, forcing closures of local beaches nearly 300 days per year. The lawsuit settlement alongside EPA programs on the border will ensure that over 75% of contaminated pollution flows are reduced year-round and beach closures due to water quality impairment can be reduced by 95% in summer months

The settlement calls of the following:

  • Support construction of a main channel temporary berm in the Tijuana River channel in Mexico to prevent or minimize dry weather flow events;
  • Improve canyon collector operations, including daily inspections, maintenance, response equipment, catch basins, and trash booms;
  • Increase cross-border communications, planning and reporting;
  • Improve water quality monitoring; and 
  • Regular removal of polluting material from the main channel of the Tijuana River.

To reach this milestone, Surfrider is proud to have worked alongside various coalition partners that include the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, City of Imperial Beach, City of Chula Vista, Port of San Diego, City of San Diego, and California State Lands Commission and Defendant U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission. Surfrider’s success would not have been possible without the local leadership of the San Diego Chapter and the Clean Border Water Now program.

“The Clean Border Water Now campaign is proud of the work done by our team to ensure that the safety and well-being of our community is put first in this now almost 100 year old issue, '' commented Bethany Case, CBWN Committee Chair of the San Diego County Chapter. “We understand that this will continue to be a work in progress. We know that the length of time these projects will take will never be fast enough, but we are ecstatic that there is a solution in place.” 

To learn more, make a donation to support this effort, and find other ways to get involved please CLICK HERE