Take Action Now to address the sewage, trash and chemical contamination in the Tijuana River Valley. We are calling on you to provide public comment, ecomment, and/or sign our policy letter. Read more below.

On January 25, 2021, the public received notification that over 220 million gallons per day of stormwater runoff, treated wastewater, sewage, and trash travelled through the Tijuana River Valley (TRV) due to a Pump Station that was shut off because of recent storms.

Sadly, these spills and shut offs are not uncommon for this area. The TRV is regularly contaminated with unknown chemicals, plastics and human sewage (see video below). Even the Federal Customs and Border Protection agency has come forward over concern for its Border Patrol agents who are falling ill while patrolling this area.

We are requesting that the County of San Diego declare a state of emergency and allocate annual funds for a large-scale, professional cleanup to eliminate the trash and chemicals that frequently pollute the area so that they can stand by their commitment in providing exceptional parks and recreation experiences such as the campground for generations to come.”

The County of San Diego plans to open the new Tijuana River Valley Regional Park Campground this summer. Declaring an emergency would ensure that the County meets its recreational commitments for a usable campground, as well as broaden funding opportunities for cleaning up the area.

Site of the new TRV Regional Campground. Close proximity to the Goat Canyon Trash Boom and Tijuana River River Mouth.
Site of the new TRV Regional Campground.
Close proximity to the Goat Canyon Trash Boom and Tijuana River River Mouth.

Surfrider San Diego invites you to express your concerns at the upcoming Board of Supervisors Meeting on February 9th. Join us in demanding that the County of San Diego declare the Tijuana River Valley a public health and national security emergency.

We have included all the information and sample speaking points/letters below. Please make sure to read the public comments instructions. Feel free to reach out to CBWN@surfridersd.org with any questions/comments.

Meeting Information

DATE: February 9, 2021 – 9am
AGENDA ITEM: 11. Framework For Our Future: Declaring Pollution At The Tijuana River Valley A Public Health Crisis
MEETING LINK: https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/general/board-meeting-video.html
ECOMMENT LINK: https://sdcounty.granicusideas.com/meetings/1514-board-of-supervisors-meeting/agenda_items?page=2

Learn more about the public health and national security emergency in the Tijuana River Valley by reading about Surfrider San Diego’s Clean Border Water Now campaign and our 2021 Policy Objectives.

How you can help and Public Comments Instructions. 

Due to Covid-19, comments can be provided via eComments prior to the board meeting or called in. See more information below.

1. eComments. eComments can be provided prior to the meeting or during the meeting by clicking on this link and leaving a Public Comment for Agenda Item 11 (Framework For Our Future: Declaring Pollution At The Tijuana River Valley A Public Health Crisis). Please click support and leave your comment. Limit: 500 characters.

  • Sample eComment in Support. (maximum 500 characters): I am a resident of ______. A state of emergency must be declared in the Tijuana River Valley and the County must direct funds to a 2021 professional clean-up. The week of January 25, 2021, over 220 million gallons per day of contaminated wastewater travelled through this area. The County will be opening a campground here in June 2021. Please protect the community from exposure to Covid-19, raw sewage, and poor air quality by committing to a large-scale cleanup.

2. Call-In Your comments. Meeting starts at 9am. We have included sample scripts at the end of this post for Agenda Item 11 (Framework For Our Future: Declaring Pollution At The Tijuana River Valley A Public Health Crisis).

  • Step 1: Fill out the online Board of Supervisors tele-comments form to request to speak during the meeting via teleconference. The form must be submitted before the meeting starts. After completing the form, you’ll get instructions on how to call in to the meeting.
  • Step 2: Watch or listen to the meeting.
  • Step 3: When the Board of Supervisors begins to discuss the agenda item you want to comment on, call in to the conference line and turn off your TV or live stream. You’ll continue to hear the Board meeting after calling in. Please do not call until the item you want to speak about is being discussed. 
  • Step 4: When it is time for public comments on the item you want to speak about, Clerk of the Board of Supervisors staff will unmute your phone. You’ll hear a prompt that will indicate your phone is unmuted. You may need to press *6 on your phone to unmute yourself. Staff will then ask you to state your name and begin your comments

3. Sign Our Policy Letter. If you are unable to provide a public comment then we ask that you please fill in and sign this letter. Return the letter to us at CBWN@surfridersd.org. We will deliver all copies to the County Board of Supervisors.

Sample Script in Support (for dial in callers):

Good Morning San Diego County Supervisors,

My name is _______, and I am a resident of ______. I am here today to ask that you declare a state of emergency in the Tijuana River Valley.  I respectfully ask that in doing this you allocate funding for a professional clean-up and remediation of the Tijuana River Valley to take place in 2021.  I am a _______ (mom, business owner, person at risk of getting health complications with Covid, surfer, swimmer, beachgoer, equestrian, etc.). 

I believe…

*Please pick one or two of the below talking points or add your own.

  • The County must take these steps because the County of San Diego is scheduled to open a campground in the Tijuana River Valley to provide affordable camping opportunities. The community deserves a clean and safe Tijuana River Valley to enjoy. If the County is opening a county campground in the area it must clean up the Tijuana River Valley.
  • Covid-19 is a serious health concern for the community. Air pollution coupled with the potential exposure to Covid-19 through untreated fecal matter is a concern that the County must address.
  • There has been no clean-up effort in the Tijuana River Valley since 2018 when volunteers fell ill as a result of collecting trash and tires in the area contaminated with raw untreated sewage. The situation in the area is dire. 
  • Parts of the Tijuana River Valley look like industrial waste sites covered with trash, tires and chemicals. The community has a right to enjoy this area.
  • The San Diego County Board of Supervisors committed in January to supporting environmental justice and equity initiatives, taking this measure would live true to that commitment. Not taking this measure would run against your own commitment.

Thank you very much for your time.