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California-Mexico initiative aims to tackle persisting cross-border sewage problem

Posted at 5:17 PM, Apr 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-05 20:41:35-04

IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. (KGTV) — A new initiative between California and Mexico officials could pave the way for solving the persistent issue of sewage flowing from Tijuana to the U.S.

The sewage comes as runoff from the Tijuana River or as flow from the Punta Bandera treatment plant, leading to beach closures in Imperial Beach and Coronado.

On Friday, officials from California and Mexico met in Imperial Beach to launch the California-Mexico Strategic Dialogue. The inaugural issue is to find solutions to stop the sewage from flowing into the U.S.

"While other leaders may use the border as an opportunity to distract and divide, we want to use this as an opportunity to convene and advance," said State Assemblyman Todd Gloria, a Democrat.

Officials are reporting progress.

Tijuana Councilman Manny Rodriguez said he and others just requested 300 million pesos, or about $16 million dollars, to improve processing tanks at Punta Bandera.

"We need to focus more on treatment, and if we get the money for that, I think this problem can be fixed," Rodriguez said.

Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina said the International Boundary and Water Commission is installing an Earthen Dam in the Tijuana River channel to stop any accidental flows during the dry time of year.

"That's a really good sign of little things that don't cost taxpayers any money that keep our beaches clean," Dedina said, adding that those kinds of short-term fixes should be a major part of the dialogue.