Border Patrol agents were surprised Wednesday morning (March 1) to see black water pouring through the grates over a drainage tube at the southeast edge of Goat Canyon.
"It was like really black tea, literally black water," one agent said. "Not like last month when it came through red."
The International Boundary and Water Commission is having the liquid tested to see what it is, but suspects it was contaminated by black paint or dye, according to a statement from the commission.
The spill — which poured over a huge new influx of sediment into the concrete basins built to catch it — was diverted to the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment plant by 12:30 p.m.
Goat Canyon is about a mile east from the ocean and about three and a half miles west of the treatment plant that was built to handle cross-border sewage flows. The sewage treatment plant is near the Tijuana River channel, where sewage flowed freely in February.
While the international treatment plant is set up to process sewage that is piped from Mexico or is captured by diverters at Smugglers Gulch and Goat Canyon, it isn't set up to pipe sewage and flows directly from the river.
The people who live in the drainage tubes on the Mexico side have temporarily abandoned the tubes, but border patrol agents say they expect them to return.