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Two Projects Promise Cross-Border Sewage Relief For South Bay Region
Thursday, September 3, 2020
Photo by Erik Anderson
The Environmental Protection Agency is spending $25 million on two projects to help stop the flow of cross border sewage and trash.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler met with state and local officials Wednesday to discuss the persistent problem and to announce two short-term solutions would move ahead.
“One grant will help divert 10-million gallons a day of wastewater for treatment at the International Boundary and Water Commission treatment plant,” Wheeler said. “Capturing this wastewater will stop most water pollution closures of beaches near the border and habitats along the river during the dry weather months."
Wheeler said the second grant would help build a trash and sediment facility in Smuggler’s Gulch along the U.S. Mexico border.
He also came with good news about efforts to address the problem south of the border. Wheeler said three pipe and pump projects are being worked on in Tijuana and that should help control the flow of sewage-tainted water north.
“We are now moving forward with actual solutions and projects to address this problem,” said Greg Cox, a San Diego County Supervisor.
The new developments were also welcomed by the Mayor of Imperial Beach. Serge Dedina has long complained the situation was out of control, pointing to cross-border flows that topped 70 million gallons on some days.
Dedina called the situation a sewage apocalypse and he is pleased that relief is coming.
“We’re making sure that my kids, all our kids, and all of our residents, border patrol agents, our Navy Seals, and all of us can swim and surf and have the best day of their lives at our beautiful Imperial Beach and Coronado coastline,” Dedina said.
The EPA is also studying how to spend up to $300 million in federal funds approved for border pollution problems in the USMCA trade deal.
Federal officials are studying a list of 27 projects that could become a long-term solution.
The big project on the list is another sewage treatment plant on the U.S. side of the border.
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