NADB Supports Projects to Address Recent Spills to the Tijuana River in Baja California

Funds provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

San Antonio, Texas – The North American Development Bank (NADB) and the local water utility, Comisión de Servicios Públicos de Tijuana(CESPT) signed a US$1.17-million grant agreement for a project to rehabilitate part of a collector main (Collector Poniente), as well as replace a few related subcollectors, in the northwestern area of Tijuana, Baja California. The US$3-million project will reduce the risk of line failures that have resulted in wastewater spills to the Tijuana River, a transboundary water body.

NADB is also providing a technical assistance grant for close to $240,000 to fund a new study that will identify the best alternatives for adequately managing flows in the Tijuana River to decrease adverse water quality impacts to the Pacific Ocean.

The Collector Poniente project is being financed through the Border Environment Infrastructure Fund (BEIF) and the study through the Project Development Assistance Program (PDAP), both of which are funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and administered by NADB.

The Collector Poniente project, which is also receiving US$1.83 million from the Mexican Government and Tijuana water utility, will replace about 14,774 feet of deteriorated pipeline that runs parallel to the Tijuana River for about 10 miles, preventing the potential discharge of approximately 4 million gallons a day of wastewater that could affect the Tijuana River.

The Tijuana River flows from Mexico into the United States and discharges to the Pacific Ocean through the Tijuana River Estuary. The flow of the river, at any given time, may be composed of storm water, effluent from wastewater treatment plants located in Mexico, “fugitive” untreated wastewater streams, and/or other unidentified sources. Some of these flow components may impair the water quality of the river and may lead to beach closures in southwestern San Diego County. In addition to water contaminants, the river may carry trash and debris that may impact the operation of critical infrastructure.

Dry-weather flows are intercepted in Mexico as intended most of the time. However, under certain conditions, such as failures in the collection system or the river diversion infrastructure in Tijuana, river flows may reach the United States. During wet conditions or rainy season, river water frequently reaches the United States.

The purpose of the Tijuana River Diversions Needs Assessment and Alternative Analysis is to evaluate the capacity and conditions of an existing diversion system to prevent transboundary river flows from the Tijuana River into the United States, as well as evaluate options for increasing river diversion capacity in Mexico and/or the United States.

The study will provide technical and feasible alternatives to address improvements or expansion of existing infrastructure and/or construction of complementary infrastructure in Mexico and/or the U.S., as well as options to optimize the operation of existing facilities during and after a rain event to reduce the duration of transboundary river flows from storms, among other issues.

NADB is a financial institution established and capitalized in equal parts by the United States and Mexico for the purpose of financing environmental infrastructure projects along their common border. As a pioneer institution in its field, the Bank is working to develop environmentally and financially sustainable projects with broad community support in a framework of close cooperation and coordination between Mexico and the United States.


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Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is thrilled to call Coronado home and raise her two children here. In her free time enjoys hitting the gym, reading, and walking her dog around the “island.”Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: