Rep. Peters, San Diego members urge Secretary Blinken to tour broken sewage treatment plant Press Releases

Members also ask to investigate how the plant fell into such a state of decline

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representative Scott Peters (CA-50) invited Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to tour the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant (ITP) that has deteriorated so badly that it threatens to impede the United States’ ability to meet its obligations under the international treaty known as Minute 328. Joining the cast are Juan Vargas (CA-52 Secretary), Sara, Urging the Actors Juan Vargas (CA-52 Secretary), Sara, Urging the Actors Juan Vargas (CA-52) and Watch Levine (CA-52). First hand, how bad is the need for funding to rehabilitate the plant in order to meet the US processing expansion provided for in the treaty.

In their invitation, Member States, Last year, the US and Mexican divisions of the IBWC approved Minute No. 328 “Sewer Infrastructure Projects in San Diego, California – Tijuana, Baja California for Immediate Implementation and for Future Development,” committing both countries to repair and expand wastewater infrastructure, including wastewater treatment plants on both sides of the border. Currently, polluted sewage is constantly flowing across the San Diego-Mexico border from Baja California, causing one of the largest environmental disasters in half Western Ball; requires immediate action.”

members continue, Please investigate the circumstances that led to the devastating level of rehabilitation needed at the plant. Who is responsible for ensuring its maintenance? Who knows what and when? And what measures will the Ministry of Foreign Affairs take to ensure that this does not happen again? “

Last week, members asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help channel environmental justice money from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to help stem the flow of pollutants. Earlier this month, members of the San Diego Congressional delegation He sent a message to President Biden It introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2024 calling on the administration to declare this crisis a federal emergency. Last month, Rep. Peters led a letter with other members of the congressional delegation in San Diego to the governor of Baja California urging accountability for the Mexican government’s commitments to building wastewater treatment infrastructure. In the past, Peters and his colleagues have secured funding, introduced legislation, and called for investigations in response to the sewage pollution crisis.

The full text of the letter is here and below:

Dear Secretary Blinken,

We are writing to invite you to tour the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant (SBIWTP). This vital facility, operated by the US International Boundaries and Waters Commission (USIBWC), has deteriorated so severely that it threatens to impede the US’s ability to meet our IBWC Minute 328 commitment. In fact, the damage was so severe that the California Environmental Protection Agency recently told a congressional delegation in San Diego that the plant was no longer compliant with Clean Water Discharge Act No. 1, and subsequent Water Quality Permits (33 USC). to the ability of the EPA and the IBWC to meet their obligations under the USMCA Implementation Act.”

As you know, last year the United States and Mexico approved No. 328 “Sewer Infrastructure Projects in San Diego, CA – Tijuana, Baja California for Immediate Implementation and for Future Development,” which commits both countries to repair and expand their wastewater infrastructure, including wastewater treatment plants on both sides of the border. Currently, polluted sewage is constantly flowing across the San Diego-Mexico border from Baja California, causing one of the largest environmental disasters in the Western Hemisphere; It requires immediate action.

In 2021, the San Diego congressional delegation was able to secure $300 million under the US-Mexico-Canada agreement to expand the SBIWTP from 25 million gallons per day (mgd) to 50 mgd. The expansion to 50 milligrams per day would allow the facility to comply with the US Minute 328 commitment. However, we recently learned that more funding is needed to rehabilitate the SBIWTP before USIBWC can expand the existing facility. The SBIWTP rehabilitation cost is estimated to be between $100 and $150 million. These new costs jeopardize the United States’ ability to meet its obligations under Agreement 328. We ask that you help us identify funds to fill this shortfall as quickly as possible, so we are in no way hindering or delaying the planning and construction of the SBIWTP plant to 50 milligrams per day.

In addition, we ask the State Department to continue to prioritize funding for IBWC maintenance in future annual budget submissions. Due to the nature of SBIWTP, this is a multi-agency issue and requires a multi-agency response to current issues and future maintenance. We hope to see continued efforts by the State Department to work with all relevant federal partners to ensure that a facility critical to our relationship with Mexico and the health of our region never deteriorates again.

Finally, we also ask that you help us understand how SBIWTP fell into such a terrible state of neglect. Please investigate the circumstances that led to the devastating level of rehabilitation needed at the factory. Who is responsible for ensuring its maintenance? Who knows what and when? And what measures will the Ministry of Foreign Affairs take to ensure that this does not happen again?

San Diegans is experiencing its second consecutive summer of beach closures due to sewage flowing north from Baja California, Mexico. Last week members of the San Diego delegation wrote to Administrator Reagan about the ongoing environmental impacts of this on our communities. Imperial Beach and Coronado beaches, which are closed in the summer due to pollution, provide the closest and often most affordable access to San Diego’s many underserved communities. These beach closures affect lower-income neighborhoods especially Latinos in South San Diego County, such as San Ysidro, National City, and Chula Vista.

We look forward to working with you to resolve this issue and will follow up shortly to determine your willingness to visit the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Thank you for your time and your respect.

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