$103 million new funding secured for Tijuana River sewage crisis

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California Construction News staff writer

An additional $103 million in funding to address the Tijuana River sewage crisis is included in California’s FY 2024 appropriations package,

“The package announced today secures urgently needed federal funding – over $100 million more than last year – to help repair the federal South Bay plant and fix the sewage crisis that San Diego communities have dealt with for far too long,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “Congress must act quickly to approve this funding, our communities cannot afford to wait.”

The Newsom Administration has worked in partnership with the Biden-Harris Administration, Senators Padilla and Butler, the San Diego County  Congressional delegation, and state and local leaders to push for urgent federal action addressing contamination in the cross-border river, including to rehabilitate and expand the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant has long suffered from operation and maintenance challenges and, in recent years, has received increasing wastewater flows from the Tijuana River. In 2020, U.S. EPA received $300 million to upgrade the Plant and identified several projects that would increase its treatment capacity. Since 2020, flows and maintenance costs have only increased. Today’s announcement solidifies the U.S. EPA’s and federal government’s commitment to ensuring that the Plant’s expanded capacity and deferred maintenance challenges are addressed as quickly as possible.  Several sanitation infrastructure projects will be completed in Mexico in advance of the South Bay Plant expansion:

  • In October, the Mexican government expects to solicit a contract for the construction of a major new wastewater treatment plant at San Antonio de los Buenos, which will greatly reduce the volumes of untreated wastewater discharged into the ocean in Mexico and reaching San Diego area beaches when ocean currents drift northward.
  • In November, the Mexican government expects to finish the repair of a major wastewater pipeline which will help reduce the excess flows.
  • U.S. EPA and the Mexican government are completing jointly-financed repairs of major wastewater collectors in Tijuana.

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