The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) joined Mexico’s Comisión Nacional de Agua (CONAGUA) and the Comisión Estatal de Servicios Públicos de Tijuana (CESPT) to announce funding for two wastewater infrastructure projects. These projects will reduce the risk of spill of up to 60 million gallons per day of untreated wastewater in the Tijuana River Watershed. The U.S. and Mexico will each contribute approximately half of the nearly $30 million cost.

“We are proud to celebrate this binational achievement,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “EPA has worked closely with the USIBWC, a wide range of stakeholders, and our Mexican counterparts to move forward on the joint U.S.-Mexico commitments outlined in the EPA-CONAGUA Statement of Intent and IBWC Treaty Minute 328 signed last summer. Today’s announcement means tangible progress toward reducing the pollution that affects our shared border communities.”

“This is a success story that shows what can be achieved when federal agencies, stakeholders, and our Mexican partners work together to help their communities. Minute 328 gave us a road map for improving sanitation infrastructure projects in San Diego and Tijuana, and the USIBWC is committed to seeing this vision become a reality,” said USIBWC Commissioner Maria-Elena Giner.

Many parts of Tijuana wastewater infrastructure are decades old and at high risk of failure. Without these new projects, cross-border flows in the Tijuana River could increase significantly. EPA, CONAGUA and CESPT invited the public for a second opportunity to comment on plans for replacement of the International Collector and rehabilitation of Pump Station 1 (PB1). The new International Collector will have the capacity to carry up to 60 million gallons per day of untreated sewage to the International Wastewater Treatment Plant, and the rehabilitated PB1 will be able to pump river water and excess wastewater to the Tijuana coast. The U.S. and Mexican agencies also celebrated the rehabilitation of the Oriente Collector, which will be completed by the end of May.

These projects are jointly funded through EPA, CONAGUA, and CESPT. EPA’s contribution includes $13 million in Border Water Infrastructure Program funding through the North American Development Bank (NADB). These International Collector and PB1 projects are expected to be certified by the NADB Board 3rd quarter this year.

Vol. 39, No. 19 - Thursday, May 11, 2023

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