John Fisher

Question:

A sewage problem has plagued the city of Imperial Beach for years, and seems like an uphill battle. What new ideas and solutions do you bring to the table?

Answer:

Sewage flowing into the TRV and out to Pacific Ocean has been a big problem for residents of Imperial Beach for decades. It directly impacts our quality of life and affects local businesses, including tourism. There is not much in way of new ideas that I could bring to this complex issue and conversation since it takes years of schooling and a degree in many areas. I would like to bring up some ideas and talking points that I feel are important for the long-term success of any plan that the EPA adopts, since it is now in their very capable hands.  
First, the plan needs to adhere the Clean Water Act of 1972, which mandates that sewage needs to be treated to a certain degree before being released back into any body of water, including the ocean. The City has sued the Federal government (IBWC) because this is currently not happening yet the proposed plan that the current City Council, Wildcoast and Surfrider have put forth will not meet that mandated standard either.  
I would like to touch on the idea of cleaned, some reclaimed water being sent to a higher point after being treated then allowing it to flow naturally through the Tijuana River Valley (TRV) – once the Valley has been thoroughly cleaned up. This would allow the water to be filtered by nature, help create a thriving natural habitat for birds, frogs and all living things in the TRV, and it could help with the replenishment of sand that has all but stopped. Buying sand to replenish the beach is too costly and the last effort proved to not be effective in helping the beach return to a natural state.
The best bet is for our City is to use its voice on the EPA’s Inter-Agency Stakeholders board that has been created to ensure the problem is resolved by keeping the promised USMCA money local. The money that has been spent by the city for consultants and lawsuits comes straight from the general fund and those actions need to stop. We need to fund much needed community programs for our youth and seniors instead.

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