SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The border sewage crisis in the South Bay has been a decades long problem.
On Friday, state and local leaders came together to request more money for the state budget to address the problem. The leaders stressed the fact that the contaminated waters from the Tijuana and New Rivers create negative impacts to public health and the environment in the region.
In an effort to reduce wastewater pouring into the San Diego region from Mexico, state and local leaders are requesting $100 million from the state budget and additional funding through AB 2248 to the California Environmental Protection Agency to address water quality problems.
“Our coastline is the jewel of Southern California and it must be safe and beautiful for residents and visitors alike,” said Assemblymember Chris Ward. “That’s why I joint-authored AB 2248 with Assemblymember Garcia to provide funding to clean up the sewage that is making people sick and destroying our coast around Imperial Beach and Coronado. Improving the water quality not only improves the quality of life for our residents, it improves the quality of life for our neighbors across the border.”
The leaders say poor water quality issues from the Tijuana and New Rivers have resulted in an inability to access local beaches and hundreds of millions of gallons of water laced with raw sewage, trash and industrial chemicals flowing into the United States for decades.
“Our $100 million funding request for Tijuana River and New River improvement projects are a matter of public health and environmental justice urgency for our border communities. For too long, residents living alongside our borders have faced disproportionate consequences of cross-border pollution, and we have been fighting for the resources needed to rectify these disparities. Assemblymember Ward and I are working together to mobilize a broad coalition of support to help us secure this budget priority for our shared border region,” stated Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia.
The leaders added that while the U.S. Environmental Agency has committed $300 million to a variety of projects aimed at studying the issue and cleaning up the pollution, additional funding is needed to modernize and expand the capacity of Tijuana’s municipal wastewater system.
WATCH: Imperial Beach officials to call on U.S. and Mexico to stop sewage flow into Tijuana River (April 2020)