Coronado Students Rally to Stop the Sewage Polluting the Ocean

April 4, 2024

Coronado Unified School District’s Stop the Sewage rally highlighted the ways cross-border sewage affects everyone in our region. Congressman Peters will continue fighting alongside our students for the health of our communities and thanks them for their passion and advocacy.

Read more about it in this March 29th piece from The Coronado Times, posted below:

Coronado Students Rally to Stop the Sewage Polluting the Ocean

By Jeannie Groeneveld

March 29, 2024

Coronado High School students from the Stop the Sewage Club, Emerald Keepers Club, and Junior Optimist Club planned and executed a Stop the Sewage Protest at Central Beach in Coronado, on the afternoon of Thursday, March 28. With an impressive group of speakers including the mayor of Imperial Beach, multiple Coronado and Imperial Beach city council members, a representative from Congressman Scott Peters’ office, the president of the school board and a number of passionate high school students, the program was both informative and inspiring. Building on the momentum of the 156 million dollars allocated in the most recent budget, the speakers encouraged everyone to continue to advocate for action, fundraising and support to Stop the Sewage.

While planning the protest, CHS Stop the Sewage club relied on the guidance of Laura Wilkinson Sinton from Laura shared, “The kids have done a really good job, we’ve been trying to teach them that this is how it works, to hold a peaceful assembly to petition the government for change.”

Eva Vinegrad, co-founder of the Stop the Sewage Club, kicked off the event, thanking everyone for coming to support their efforts. She introduced Rebecca King of the Christ Church Peace and Justice Committee who gave the invocation. King shared that she borrowed a prayer from Native American, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian liturgies and the prayer appropriately concluded with the statement: “The water that God called into being is at the heart of all that lives, mindful of the many ways that water affects our lives, let us pray for our waters, our oceans and for the life they sustain.”

Danny Vinegrad, president and co-founder of the CHS Stop the Sewage club, said “Our beaches have been plagued by sewage… over 100 billion gallons of sewage have spewed into our oceans; as an avid surfer it is extremely disheartening, but it also affects authorities, Navy SEALS, tourists, local residents and marine life. Recently Congress has given the green light for 156 million dollars to be put toward this issue. We are all extremely grateful for this. We want to thank Congressman Peters for all his efforts on this issue. This is a step in the right direction, but we need more funding to solve this problem. We also need President Biden to declare a state of emergency, to expedite the construction process. We need this to take months, not years. We are the voters of the future and take note, we will vote for our values of ocean safety.”

Cesar Solis, The Director of Constituent Services for Congressman Scott Peters, read a statement from the Congressman who was unable to attend the event: “Please know how impressed I am to see young people engaged in addressing this problem. The cross border sewage crisis is far reaching, it impacts the environment, public health, tourism, the military, national security and your quality of life…. advocacy by young people is so vital because you are the ones that will have to live with the consequences of the decisions lawmakers make today. Keep at it and I promise I will too.”

In between each speaker, a Coronado High School student gave passionate pleas to support the efforts to clean up the ocean, not only from the sewage but also from single use plastics as well. They also led chants asking to stop the sewage and get more funding.

Imperial Beach Mayor Paloma Aguirre shared that the beaches in Imperial Beach have been closed for over 820 consecutive days and she thanked the students and protestors for continuing the movement that is finally starting to gain traction and secure government funding. She talked about Mexico’s investment to replace their treatment plant that currently discharges 40 million gallons of raw sewage every day into the ocean. She shared that she is cautiously optimistic that by next summer (2025) the beaches may reopen after the work gets done.

CUSD School Board President Alexia Palacios Peters said, “I am so proud of our students for everything they are doing because this issue affects them, their learning, their development, their ability to use our resources here. The schools are a mere six blocks from the beaches and the toxic mist is going into our schools. I encourage you all to continue to support our students.”

City council members Mike Donovan, John Duncan, Casey Tanaka and Carrie Downey, as well as Emerald Keepers President Amy Steward all spoke, expressing how extremely impressed they were by the students, sharing their concerns about this issue and their commitment to continue the fight.

This protest was focused on the sewage contamination, but Steward brought up another challenge facing our oceans, plastics. Amy said “I want to thank the students, you all are awesome, your voices matter, this is your beach and this is your community. What we are doing here [for the stop the sewage program] is advocating, but there is something we can do about a problem in Coronado that is huge, and that has to do with plastics. Our oceans are choking in plastics and Coronado is the only beach community from IB to Oceanside without a plastic reduction ordinance. So I urge all of you to use your voices to make this heard and make changes today. Thank you city council for your consideration. Way to go students!”

Earlier this week, Mayor Richard Bailey shared an update and history of the issue on his social media sites and as a letter to the editor: “Good News! Congress has passed $156M in additional funding to expand the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant. This latest update is the culmination of a bipartisan, regional effort over the past seven years led by Coronado and Imperial Beach to raise awareness of this issue to our federal representatives, identify a solution, and secure the necessary funding.”

For more information and ways to support this effort, visit



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