IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. — South Bay coastal communities could finally learn about long-term solutions to the sewage problem that has plagued the region for decades.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency and the International Boundary Water Commission hosted the USMCA Tijuana River Watershed US-Mexico signing ceremony. The event “unveiled agreements between the U.S. and Mexico to fund and implement the initial steps of a comprehensive set of projects addressing transborder pollution.''
The ceremony comes about a month after another two sewage lines broke, dumping millions of gallons into the Tijuana River. The two sewer lines failed in late July. The initial repair work was expected to be completed by the end of last week so that one of the damaged pipelines can be brought back online.
Once the pipeline is fully restored to service and pump stations are re-activated, transboundary wastewater flow to the Tijuana River will end.
"We appreciate the quick response by Mexican officials to repair the damaged infrastructure," said Dr. Maria-Elena Giner, United States Commissioner.
Baron Partlow from Imperial Beach says he’s outraged over the most recent sewer line breaks in Tijuana that’s making it’s way into the Pacific Ocean.
"We have no idea how it can just keep getting worse and worse and worse as time goes on. We watched failure after failure after failure," said Partlow.
Commissioners say it’s about a 6-week timeline to repair the second line.
In the meantime, the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant has been working twice as hard, treating a daily average of 31.5 million gallons per day – exceeding the plant’s capacity of 25 million gallons per day.
The sewage collected in the flood control channel has been entering the ocean and even forced the closure of Imperial and Coronado beaches, which has south bay residents upset.
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