The federal government has announced that it will repair five pumping stations in Tijuana to prevent cross-border sewage spills that have angered communities in the San Diego area.
The Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (SRE) said that Mexico and the United States are engaged in talks to sign a bilateral agreement intended to mitigate the problems of sewage flows affecting and even closing beaches on the U.S. coast.
Both countries will commit resources to address the issue, the SRE said.
Last year, the local governments of Imperial Beach, Chula Vista and the Port of San Diego sued the United States section of the International Boundary and Water Commission for failing to stop sewage from Tijuana flowing into the Pacific Ocean north of the border via the Tijuana river.
Sewage pollution has forced the closure of beaches on both sides of the border on several occasions.
The SRE announcement came two days after President López Obrador said the government would invest 200 million pesos (US $10.4 million) to build new treatment plants in Tijuana.
“An agreement was reached to treat water in Tijuana; it’s between the two countries. Treatment plants will be installed,” he told reporters at his morning press conference on Monday.
“The government of the United States is contributing half and we’re contributing the other half,” López Obrador said without offering further details.
José Carmelo Zavala, director of the non-profit Center for Environmental Innovation and Management in Tijuana, said he expected that the Punta Bandera treatment plant, which dumps huge quantities of sewage into the Pacific Ocean, will be taken out of service once new treatment plants are built.
“. . . Punta Bandera hasn’t really been working since the ’80s, it isn’t maintained, it overflows . . . we really need another wastewater treatment plant there,” he said.
Zavala added that any new plant should send treated water to Valle de Guadalupe via aqueduct for reuse.