Imperial Beach mayor hopes EPA advances sewage repair schedule
IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. (KGTV) – As residents flock to the coast this summer to enjoy the beach, South Bay residents continue to contend with sewage in the waters along the southern border.
Imperial Beach mayor Serge Dedina said he personally contacted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), urging them to do something.
“Install burms, do everything in their power to keep water from crossing the roads and recently we have had rain which has caused many beach closures in South County,” said Dedina.
Last year, the EPA announced that it was spending $ 300 million to address pollution issues in the Tijuana River Valley, through the recently negotiated United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement. But the agency has yet to decide exactly how to spend the money.
Dedina says there is no time to waste, building infrastructure and holding officials south of the border to account.
RELATED: USMCA Agreement to Send Funds to Solve Tijuana River Wastewater Problem in South Bay
“We also can’t let Mexico get away with it, we have to stop making excuses as to why Mexico can’t fix its sewage system and push it much more to do it,” Dedina added.
And the beaches are open again for the busy July 4th weekend.
“Things are going well, we have a north wind pushing everything south so we look good for the weekend and we want people to have fun and have fun at IB,” said Dedina.
But he says he also knows it’s probably only a matter of time before they close again.
EPA is currently investigating at least 10 projects to address the pollution problem in the Tijuana River Valley. The International Boundaries and Water Commission says design and construction is expected in 2023.
In January, Chris Helmer, director of environment and natural resources at Imperial Beach, told ABC 10News that even after projects are approved, they will have to undergo environmental reviews. At the time, it was unclear what Mexico planned to implement in terms of water reuse projects and increasing treatment capacity, Helmer added.
Last summer, the EPA helped Mexico fund repairs to various sections of broken sewer pipes, according to Helmer, including new pumps at the Tijuana pumping plant, PB CILA, in August. Mexico was also working to improve the PB CILA diversion system to better manage cross-border flows.
“Even with these recent improvements, Mexico still has a very fragile sewerage system with vulnerable sewer lines, damaged pump stations and an unreliable bypass system at PB CILA. We have learned to expect problems. damage to the Mexican sanitation system after any major storm, we are certainly worried about the expected torrential rains, ”Helmer said in January.
“We believe that all existing policy tools and allocated funds are already in place for a comprehensive solution to the Tijuana River problem. This includes extending treatment and transportation capacity in Mexico, reusing treated wastewater water in Mexico, extending the river diversion in Mexico to PB CILA, back-up diversion basins and pollution control in the United States, and increased treatment capacity at the IBWC treatment plant, ”added Helmer.