Water Quality 2015: Tijuana Watershed

Written by Meredith Meyers

Water Quality 2015 - tj (1)

Water Quality Index Score: 14, Poor

Tijuana Polar 2015Since we can only sample the Tijuana watershed when water levels are high after a recent rain, we were only able to sample the watershed three times this year.

The Tijuana-based sewage treatment plant handles and purifies 50 million gallons of river water every day, but it can’t handle wet weather flows. When it rains, the operators divert the river flow without treatment, and that’s when we can sample the river. This is also why Imperial Beach beaches are frequently closed during the winter.

Our only sample in 2015 followed a massive rain event in December. That sample showed:

  • Bacteria levels were extremely high – even diluting the sample 100 fold, the concentrations were still higher than our test kits can measure
  • Ammonia and phosphorus levels were off the charts
  • Volunteers find the water looking murky and comment on its extreme odor

This watershed requires a lot of cross-border collaboration to truly understand and solve the interconnected water quality issues. We’re looking for passionate volunteers to get trained in water quality monitoring so they can champion efforts in this challenging watershed. What are you waiting for? Sign up to get trained!

Water Quality Index Score Explanation

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