A dead body, found trapped in a Mexican pump station on Sunday, was deemed responsible for a backup that caused nearly 14.5 million gallons of raw sewage to flow from Tijuana into San Diego, according to border water officials.
Mexico’s International Boundary Water Commission (CILA) told its U.S. counterparts that a cleanup crew at a pump station found the body in a sewage intake screens, San Diego’s KGTV reported.
The corpse caused trash to build up and plug the structure and overflow into the U.S., according to the U.S. section of the International Boundary and Water Commission.
Between 9 p.m. Saturday and 8 p.m. the next day, nearly 14.5 million gallons of treated and untreated wastewater flowed from Tijuana into the Tijuana River Valley in San Diego, according to officials.
It was unclear how the body ended up there. Police on Monday cordoned off the area as an investigation proceeded, USIBWC’s Dawi Dakhil said told KGTV.
Mexico water officials had cleared the scene by Monday, having rebuilt a temporary raised bank to stop the overflow, KGTV reported.
The incident was nothing new for San Diego, which has been dealing with raw sewage flows from Tijuana for decades. Last year, a pipe across the border in Mexico broke, causing millions of gallons of sewage to flow into the Tijuana River and then to the Pacific Ocean, impacting California coastal areas.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., last week secured nearly $20 million in federal funding aimed at helping California prevent such overflows from Tijuana.