Mayor Richard Bailey along with other officials representing the region, including Congressman Scott Peters, Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina, and representatives from the offices of Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Congressmen Juan Vargas and Mike Levin, met with federal officials Monday to explore recommended solutions to cross-border sewage.
Deteriorating sewer treatment plants and pipes in Tijuana regularly discharge contaminants that eventually end up in the ocean.
The meeting was held by representatives of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the North American Development Bank to describe the findings of a recently completed report on projects that could help reduce cross-border sewage flows. The discussion focused on several projects identified in the final Tijuana River Diversion Study conducted by the EPA and North American Development Bank, including diverting flows to the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant and replacing pump stations and other infrastructure in Mexico, and the next steps the region can take to help implement the projects.
Coronado’s participation in the meeting is a continuation of the City’s efforts to help find solutions to the problem. “We are getting closer to making significant and lasting improvements on both sides of the border,” Bailey said. “Soft touch efforts have helped secure millions of dollars in government funding for infrastructure improvements and this study identifies real projects that will help move the needle on this issue.”
During the meeting, EPA Region 9 Administrator Mike Stoker stated that increased efforts on the part of EPA and other federal agencies are a direct result of the collaborative approach promoted by several agencies in the region, including Coronado and the County of San Diego. Stoker’s comments were reiterated by EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Tribal and International Affairs Chad McIntosh, who was also in attendance.
Monday’s meeting in Imperial Beach was a follow-up to a June 5, summit held in the City of Coronado. At that meeting, the EPA and stakeholders reviewed the technical and financial feasibility of 15 potential projects to address sewage flows in the Tijuana and New rivers.
The City of Coronado has lobbied federal lawmakers and agency leaders over the last year to fund sustainable solutions to the sewage flows, resulting in $50 million for wastewater projects along the southern border.
“Our collaborative, diplomatic approach is paying off. The City of Coronado will continue to push for funding and support for projects that keep San Diego County beaches free of pollution. The next steps include gathering support for the projects that will have the best outcomes and pushing to get them funded and built,” Bailey said.
For more information about Coronado’s work on the pollution issue, visit the City’s Cross-Border Water Solutions page.