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The Inertia

For a long time now, Southern California residents have been concerned about the Tijuana River. It empties into the ocean just a few miles north of the U.S./Mexico border, and it’s no secret how much sewage it carries with it.

Take, for example, what happened back in December of 2018. After a collector pipe ruptured on the Mexican side of the border, some 6 million gallons of raw, untreated sewage flowed northwards for days. Many beaches in southern San Diego, including Imperial Beach, were closed as a result, and Serge Dedina, the Mayor of Imperial Beach was livid.

“We don’t believe that this spill happened yesterday as the Mexican government is claiming,” he told NBC4 News. “We think it happened right after the rain, so whether or not there’s a cover-up of the spill and whether or not we’ve had up to 30 million gallons spilled since the rain is something we’re concerned about.”

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The year before that, in February of 2017, a similar event happened, prompting Surfrider Foundation, the cities of Imperial Beach and Chula Vista, and the San Diego Unified Port District to announce their intent to sue the US IBWC over violation of the Clean Water Act.

But it’s not just when storms hammer the area that problems arise. A basic lack of infrastructure coupled with a city that grew too fast leads to an issue so large it seems almost insurmountable. The residents of many areas in Tijuana aren’t to blame, either—they too are affected by the sewage flowing through their communities, but help is needed at a governmental level.

A recent short documentary Vice News created takes a closer look at the problem. It follows a man named Baron Partlow on his mission to “Stop the Poop”, an effort to get people to sit up and take notice of a very real hazard to residents of Imperial Beach and Tijuana.

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