The 20 or so individuals who live in the storm-drains have been forced to seek shelter elsewhere.
  • The 20 or so individuals who live in the storm-drains have been forced to seek shelter elsewhere.
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Storm drains that lead to the Tijuana River estuary outlet just north of the pedestrian bridge (alongside the construction of the Chaparral border-crossing station) have recently emitted effluent known as aguas negras (“black waters”).

Within the past few days, the sludge and heat of August have produced a stench and concomitant health hazards, especially to the homeless living in the trench.

Although there have been no recent rains, the storm drains have belched forth “organic material” mixed with paper and plastic detritus. The grimy sludge offers some rich pickings for the sea birds. The 20 or so individuals who live in the storm-drain outlets have been forced to seek shelter elsewhere.

Although the cause for the appearance of the goo is unknown, water pipelines and storm drains as far south as 7th St. and Avenida Revolución have been backing up and spewing sandy mud onto streets and sidewalks, requiring road crews to excavate the drainage system in search of the problem.

Tijuana’s daily Frontera newspaper recently (September 4 edition) warned people to not enter the infested areas without adequate biological protection, such as rubber gloves and face-masks. The pools of spew are prone to incubate mosquitos, rats, and toxic bacteria.  

The aguas negras have also appeared in the Las Playas area of Tijuana. Health alerts have been declared by officials, warning swimmers and surfers to avoid the ocean until the problem is cleared up.

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