Solutions for the decades-old Tijuana River Valley sewage issues finally seem to be moving forward as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with a large group of shareholders in the South Bay, including Coronado and the Navy, has developed a comprehensive list of projects designed to provide transborder wastewater solutions. With only $300 million allocated, the proposed projects span both sides of the border, with an estimated $600 million price tag.
“In 2020, the U.S. government, through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, committed $300 million in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), to identify infrastructure solutions to mitigate this decades-old problem. The USMCA requires EPA, in coordination with eligible public entities, to carry out the planning, design, and construction of high priority treatment works in the Tijuana River watershed to address transboundary flow pollution.” ~ U.S. EPA
The EPA is currently in the phase that includes a draft Environmental Impact Statement, which was recently unveiled and constitutes the required next step in the Comprehensive Infrastructure Solution for transborder wastewater. It is now available for public review and the public has the opportunity to give input through August 1, 2022.
Further information on the projects, environmental review and public comment period is available at: https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-water-infrastructure/usmca-tijuana-river-watershed. Last day to submit comments is August 1, 2022, email: [email protected].
According to EPA Press Officer Julia Giarmoleo, the projects being considered are all designed to reduce the amount of pollutants entering the United States from Tijuana. She stated, “The EPA is considering projects to increase the amount of Tijuana sewage that gets treated and the amount of Tijuana River water that gets removed from the river channel and treated. By providing more treatment, these projects will greatly decrease the amount of pollutants discharged to the ocean via the Tijuana River and San Antonio de los Buenos Creek. These projects will increase the amount of treated sewage discharged through the South Bay Ocean Outfall, but while this will result in a modest increase in pollutants from that particular outfall, the discharge from the outfall will continue to meet all applicable regulatory requirements, including water quality standards designed to project the beneficial uses of the Pacific Ocean. Overall, the large reduction in the amount of pollutants discharged by the Tijuana River and San Antonio de los Buenos Creek will greatly offset the modest increase in pollutants discharged via the South Bay Ocean Outfall. The net impact will be a large reduction in pollutants discharged to the ocean.”
The EPA also has this three-page fact sheet on its website: www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2021-11/cis-factsheet-110221.pdf.
We will continue to follow the process as it moves forward towards solutions to keep our beaches and ocean water clean and safe.
Review the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) and provide comments by August 1, 2022.