SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The two U.S. senators from California are asking the federal government to provide emergency funding to try and stop constant sewage flows that originate south of the border but end up on the U.S. side and out into the Pacific Ocean contaminating beaches and the coastline.
Earlier this week, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla asked the Appropriations Committee to include money in a multi-billion dollar emergency bill being drafted to provide disaster relief for the Tijuana River Valley.
The White House is already asking for $40 billion in funding for Ukraine, Maui disaster assistance, and border and immigration issues.
Feinstein and Padilla want this package to also include funds to fight the Mexican sewage issue in the San Diego-Tijuana region.
They drafted a letter requesting $310 million to mitigate the problem because sewage from Mexico is “fouling California beaches, degrading U.S. Navy readiness, and harming the health of Customs and Border Protection agents, U.S. Coast Guardsmen, and millions of Americans in Southern California.”
The senators also issued a joint public statement explaining the need for the money:
“More than 100 billion gallons of toxic effluent have entered the United States through the Tijuana River since 2018, routinely pumping dangerous bacteria into regional waterways and closing beaches up and down the coast. Since 2017, the Customs and Border Protection union has notified us that agents suffer chemical burns, rashes, headaches, and other ailments from exposure to raw sewage and industrial and chemical discharge flowing across the border. While normal conditions overwhelm the system, Tropical Storm Hilary pushed hundreds-of-millions of gallons more of untreated stormwater and wastewater across the border, polluting nearby waterways and the ocean.”
The money requested by Feinstein and Padilla is in addition to the $300 million already set aside from the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement that will help pay for projects in the Tijuana River Valley and in the Tijuana region.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will oversee the work, which includes expanding capacity for the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plan in San Diego.