THE GOVERNMENTS OF MEXICO AND THE UNITED STATES AFFIRM THEIR COMMITMENT TO THE IMPLEMENATION OF THE COMPREHENSIVE SANITATION PROGRAM FOR SAN DIEGO, CA. –TIJUANA, B.C.
Officials from the Governments of the United States and Mexico met today at the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (SRE) in Mexico City to affirm their commitment to continue implementing comprehensive border sanitation projects in the San Diego, California–Tijuana, Baja California region. These projects are being carried out within the framework of Minute 328 of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) entitled: “Sanitation Infrastructure Projects in San Diego, California – Tijuana, Baja California for Immediate Implementation and Future Development” and the Statement of Intent for the Implementation of Sanitation Projects in the Tijuana-San Diego Region, signed by the National Water Commission (CONAGUA) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The meeting was chaired by United States Ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar and CONAGUA Director Germán Arturo Martínez Santoyo and they were accompanied by Roberto Velasco Álvarez, Chief of SRE’s North America Unit, the U.S. and Mexican Commissioners of the IBWC, Maria-Elena Giner and Adriana Reséndez; and EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzmán. Representatives from Baja California also participated including State Finance Secretary Marco Antonio Moreno Mexía; and Baja California Secretary for Water Management, Sanitation, and Protection, Armando Fernández Samaniego, among other officials. Minute 328 entered into force in August 2022, with both countries agreeing the construction of 17 sanitation projects in San Diego and Tijuana, at an approximate total cost of USD 474 million over a period of five years. In this context and with the same purpose, CONAGUA and the EPA signed a Declaration of Intent in July 2022 for the implementation of sanitation projects in the San Diego-Tijuana region.
These projects include, among others: doubling the capacity of the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant (SBIWTP) in the United States, which treats wastewater from Tijuana, Baja California, to U.S. standards; the rehabilitation and adaptation of the treatment plant in San Antonio de los Buenos, Mexico; as well as the rehabilitation of primary sewage lines and pumping plants in Tijuana to mitigate ruptures and failures that cause wastewater spills that affect the water quality of the Tijuana River and the Pacific Ocean beaches in that region, which have led to U.S. government complaints to the Government of Mexico.
The Chief of the North America Unit, Roberto Velasco, and the Mexican IBWC commissioner, Adriana Reséndez, stated that from the list of 16 immediate projects included in Minute 328, the rehabilitation of the “PBCILA” pump plant has already been completed. The plant captures dry-season wastewater flows in the Tijuana River to divert them to the city of Tijuana sanitation system and prevent their crossing into U.S. territory. With the same goal, the tender for the rehabilitation of PB-Laureles 1 treatment plant will begin at the end of August 2023.
U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar said the one-year anniversary of the signing of Minute 328 was an important moment to review progress and renew our binational commitments.
Two other wastewater collector rehabilitation projects in Tijuana have been advancing, including the completion of the Oriente Collector and the acquisition of material for work on the International Collector.
The U.S. IBWC Commissioner, María-Elena Giner said, “We recognize how important these projects are and the impact they will have on public health and the beaches of our communities along the border. Expanding the International Treatment Plant as soon as possible is a top priority.” In the United States, preparations are underway to award a contract for the design of the SBIWTP expansion in the summer of 2024.
National Water Commission Director, Germán Arturo Martínez Santoyo, noted that within the framework of the CONAGUA-EPA Joint Investment Program, CONAGUA will continue to support the construction of projects identified in Minute 328 with federal resources, such as the project for the removal and reuse of effluents from the Arturo Herrera and La Morita Wastewater Treatment Plants, the rehabilitation of the International Collector, and the rehabilitation of the PB-1, Laureles 1 and 2, and Matadero pumping plants. Likewise, he said they are providing support to the government of Baja California in its efforts with the Secretariat of Finance to obtain resources for the rest of the projects included in the Minute.
EPA Region 9 Administrator, Martha Guzmán, said “The historic commitments made by both of our countries are creating an opportunity to significantly reduce pollution throughout the Tijuana River Watershed and lead the way toward cleaner neighborhoods, beaches and canyons. EPA remains committed to investing in projects on both sides of the border, such as the rehabilitation and expansion of the International Treatment Plant and other critical projects in Mexico such as La Morita and Arturo Herrera wastewater treatment plants for wastewater reuse and the rehabilitation of Pump Station 1.”
Director of the State Public Services Commission of Tijuana (CESPT), Víctor Daniel Amador Barragán, said the Commission is defining the final details of the project for the rehabilitation and readaptation of the San Antonio de los Buenos Treatment Plant with a capacity of 800 liters per second (18 million gallons per day). The CESPT Director said that the tender for the project is expected in October, with the goal of starting construction during the second quarter of 2024, and work on the Antiguo pressure emitter, which includes the rehabilitation of the Matadero Canyon is expected to start and conclude in 2023.
The above actions are being carried out in accordance with Article 3 of the 1944 U.S.-Mexico Water Treaty, in which the Governments of Mexico and the United States commit to give preferential attention to the solution of border sanitation problems.