Tijuana River Valley Cleanup & Volunteer Appreciation Party

October 09, 2017

Surfrider San Diego is changing the location of its annual Tijuana River Action Month (TRAM) cleanup on 10/14/17 from Goat Canyon to the beach at Border Field State Park. Volunteers, please park in the same location as listed before (1275 Monument Rd). The decision stems from a sediment quality study conducted by San Diego Coast Keeper, which found above average fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) concentrations in sediment samples collected in Goat Canyon. In order to protect the health and safety of our volunteers, Surfrider has chosen to change the cleanup location to the beach.

Statement from CA state parks: “The Tijuana River Valley has experienced flows of contaminated water for decades, and although there have been improvements, these flows continue (especially after rainfall). Given the issues around sewer system failures in Tijuana last winter, California State Parks has implemented additional analysis to determine if the soils in the area are at high level of Fecal Indicator Bacteria (FIB) contamination. Water and soils from Goat Canyon have tested positive for Fecal Indicator Bacteria, but some of the associated health risks (e.g. contact with soils) are unknown. The Reserve and its partners are currently examining these issues and potential solutions.”

In 2016, TRAM brought in 2,860 volunteers who collected 64,083 pounds of trash and 29 waste tires. They installed 320 native plants and improved 8.5 acres of habitat. With over events in Mexico and United States, TRAM 2016 was a huge success!

The fact that Goat Canyon is too hazardous for our volunteers to clean speaks volumes to the severity of the border sewage issue. Earlier this February, millions of gallons raw sewage were discharged into the Tijuana River and eventually flowed into the Pacific Ocean. This was one of the largest sewage spills in history, however, 245 days and 14 additional sewage spills later, there has been no federal cleanup effort in the Tijuana River valley.

Sewage discharges from Mexico into the Tijuana River valley have created an emergency situation that is threatening public health, wildlife, and the environment. The border sewage problem has been present for decades and it is time we resolve it.