San Diego's Imperial Beach. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

San Diego’s Imperial Beach. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Inertia

A failure at a San Diego pump station has led to the release of over 300,000 gallons of wastewater. The spill occurred due to a failed pressure relief valve at a pump station used to capture sewage flowing into the city from Mexico.

The issue occurred at Hollister Street Pumping Station, located in the South Bay. According to the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC), the leak started around midnight on Monday and continued to 4:45 a.m.. The commission estimates 302,000 gallons were spilled, though city of San Diego workers managed to recover 48,000 gallons. However inflow from nearby sewage collection stations then caused the spill to resume until neighboring collection stations could be paused, as IBWC San Diego Field Office area operations manager Morgan Rogers told Fox 5.

Since then, the Hollister station has been taken out of operation until the surge tank can be cleaned and the failed valve can be replaced.

Billions of gallons of sewage cross the border into San Diego each year, leading to what San Diego State University’s (SDSU) School of Public Health calls a “public health crisis.” This is also not the first time Hollister has struggled with the issue. In August 2023, the same station dumped over 20,000 gallons of raw sewage, due to an equipment failure resulting from Tropical Storm Hilary. In response, the IWBC installed a new pump and motor in November, in order to “provide added redundancy to the other pumps and more reliable operation of the Hollister pump station should one of the other pumps become inoperable.”


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