SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with the North American Development Bank, presented an $18 million grant to the governor of Baja California Norte in Mexico for the rehabilitation of Tijuana sewers.
Today’s grant is part of a four-year $42 million project, known locally as Tijuana Sana, or healthy Tijuana, to help repair or replace deteriorated sewer pipes. The improvements will reduce sewage overflows and spills into the Tijuana River, which flows north into the United States.
Sewage flowing into the Tijuana River and canyons crossing the border pose ongoing threats to public health and the environment in the United States, particularly coastal water quality.
“The EPA has a very strong commitment to improve the environment and infrastructure along the border especially in the Tijuana region where water and wastewater struggle to keep pace with the rapid development,” said Wayne Nastri, the EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. “This is a model for other border communities and shows how cooperation between the United States and Mexico can address risks to public health and the environment.”
The EPA-funded Border Environment Infrastructure Fund, administered through the NADB, issued the grant to the Comision Estatal de Servicios Publicos de Tijuana, the public utility in Tijuana responsible for water and wastewater services. Through the BEIF, the EPA assists construction of water and wastewater projects along the US/Mexico Border.
The EPA has also helped fund the rehabilitation and expansion of Tijuana’s main wastewater treatment plant and is currently funding a long-range master plan for Tijuana water and wastewater infrastructures.
The North American Development Bank and the Border Environment Cooperation Commission were created under the authority of the North America Free Trade Agreement. BECC is responsible for certifying that projects comply with sound technical, environmental, financial, and public participation principles. The NADB provides loans and grants for projects that have been certified by BECC.