Joint US and Mexico Initiative to Curtail Wastewater Spills in Tijuana River

Joint US and Mexico Initiative to Curtail Wastewater Spills in Tijuana River

The main entrance of the U.S. EPA Headquarters at the William Jefferson Clinton Federal Building in Washington, D.C.

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In a groundbreaking bid to protect the Tijuana River Watershed, the U.S. EPA and U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission — along with Mexico's Comisión Nacional de Agua and the Comisión Estatal de Servicios Públicos de Tijuana — are jointly investing $30 million in two wastewater projects. These projects will reduce the risk of spill of up to 60 million gallons per day of untreated wastewater in the Tijuana River Watershed. 

The U.S. and Mexico will each contribute approximately half of the cost of the projects.

“We are proud to celebrate this binational achievement,” says EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “EPA has worked closely with the USIBWC, a wide range of stakeholders, and our Mexican counterparts to move forward on the joint U.S.-Mexico commitments outlined in the EPA-CONAGUA Statement of Intent and IBWC Treaty Minute 328 signed last summer. Today’s announcement means tangible progress toward reducing the pollution that affects our shared border communities.”

Many parts of Tijuana wastewater infrastructure are decades old and at high risk of failure. Without these new projects, cross-border flows in the Tijuana River could increase significantly. The EPA, CONAGUA and CESPT invited the public for a second opportunity to comment on plans for replacement of the International Collector and rehabilitation of Pump Station 1. The new International Collector will have the capacity to carry up to 60 million gallons per day of untreated sewage to the International Wastewater Treatment Plant, and the rehabilitated Pump Station 1 will be able to pump river water and excess wastewater to the Tijuana coast. The U.S. and Mexican agencies also celebrated the rehabilitation of the Oriente Collector, which will be completed by the end of May.

The two projects are expected to be certified by the North American Development Bank board in the third quarter of 2023.


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