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San Diego County Looks To Fix Tijuana River Cross-Border Sewage Flows

The Mexican border town of Tijuana is shown in the distance near the Tijuana ...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: The Mexican border town of Tijuana is shown in the distance near the Tijuana Estuary, foreground, near Imperial Beach, Calif., Jan. 7, 2008.

San Diego County officials are finalizing a list of projects that could help fix the region’s sewage problems. Sewage flows from Tijuana regularly foul San Diego’s ocean waters. That prompted the state, the Port of San Diego, a clean water group and several municipalities to sue the federal government to fix the problem.

But county officials are pursuing a different track.

The county is close to completing a study that is designed to identify potential solutions.

A public meeting is planned for Thursday night at the San Ysidro Civic Center to get input on the 26 potential projects.

Those projects range from adding more water capture basins, diverting sewage tainted flows to the ocean outfall, and to boosting the capacity of the international sewage plant near the border.

Reported by Roland Lizarondo

“So some of the projects would involve maybe expanding the capacity of that from 50 million gallons per day to maybe 100 million,” said Greg Cox, a San Diego County Supervisor. “Other improvements along those canyons. Doing more to capture trash before it gets further down the river. So there’s a litany of projects,”

Cox said it is critical to begin identifying projects instead of waiting for the litigation against the federal government to be resolved.

“If we can get some projects done now. Or identify some projects and get some funding, we’re going to be much further ahead than if we have to wait three, four, or five years to get litigation resolved. And let’s be honest. It’s a little bit of a crapshoot whether you ultimately win or not,” Cox said.

RELATED: Fixes Could Finally Be Coming For Mexico’s Cross-Border Sewage Spills

The final report and its recommended solutions should be out by the end of the year. Then local officials will have to identify funding.

Some of that money could come from legislation being pushed by the local congressional delegation.

The lawmakers are looking to send funding to the North American Development Bank which can spend money in Mexico or the United States.

Separate legislation proposed giving the Environmental Protection Agency more money for border pollution projects.

“Super stoked and grateful that our congressional delegation, Juan Vargas, Scott Peters, and Mike Levin are working together to get like a surgical bill package that targets certain federal agencies like the North American Development Bank and the EPA,” Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina said on Tuesday .

It is unclear whether the bills will get support in Congress.

Listen to this story by Erik Anderson

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