In 2020 the U.S. government through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) committed $300 million in The United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade agreement to identify infrastructure solutions to mitigate the transboundary pollution. Infrastructure solutions for transboundary flows from the Tijuana River have been studied for the past year. The Environmental Protection Agency, which has been tasked with creating solutions, originally proposed 10 possible projects. In time the projects have been narrowed down to three, which were presented during the last virtual public information meeting on Aug. 6.
What’s in the Tijuana River?
Ammonia, a byproduct of raw sewage. Phosphorous, an ingredient in soaps and cleaners that’s banned in the U.S. Metals used in the industrial plating industry. Parasitic worms. And DEHP, a chemical added to plastics.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law last week a bill that will require the state’s Environmental Protection Agency to create a Watershed Action Plan for the Tijuana River Valley.
The mayor of Imperial Beach, Calif., and the governor of Baja California are engaged in an ongoing public feud over cross-border sewage spills, which have been a problem for years and resulted in polluting local communities in the United States and making people ill.
Rep. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, and other local Congress members introduced the Border Water Quality Restoration and Protection Act of 2020 Friday to address pollution along the U.S.-Mexico border and improve the water quality of both the Tijuana and New rivers.
Water is a big deal in California, and climate change is threatening the precious resource. That’s why Gov. Gavin Newsom finalized a broad plan this week to help prevent future water challenges, but some Californians say it relies on old thinking and harmful water storage projects.
The Water Resilience Portfolio outlines 142 actions the state could take to build resilience as the effects of warming temperatures grow. It supports everything from a recent fund focused on safe and affordable drinking water to habitat restoration to improving groundwater storage capabilities.
Both United States and Mexican officials announced separate plans Tuesday to upgrade Tijuana River wastewater facilities.
The international river has been a longtime problem for residents of Imperial Beach and Tijuana, as sewage and trash from the river have spilled into the Pacific Ocean for decades, often closing beaches near the border and damaging natural habitats along the river.
The Tijuana River straddles the U.S.-Mexico border, picking up sewage and trash along its winding and cross-border path. Over the last 40 years water- treatment facilities have been overrun with sewage and trash, especially during the rainy season.
For decades, millions of gallons of raw sewage and trash have flowed from the Tijuana River to the Pacific Ocean, fouling beaches, angering Southern Californians and getting worse by the year.
An estimated 143 million gallons of waste from Tijuana spilled into the river valley in 2017, overwhelming a treatment plant built by the United States and Mexico nearly 25 years ago. Last October, a corpse clogged a sewage intake screen, causing a backup and sending 14.5 million gallons of polluted water over the border and into the U.S.
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law new legislation to further prevent the exposure of harmful chemicals and sewage into the Tijuana River Valley.