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Release Date: 4/22/1997
Contact Information: Paula Bruin, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1587

     (San Francisco)--U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Felicia Marcus and International Boundary Water Commissioner John Bernal joined congressional leaders and local, state, and federal representatives from both the United States and Mexico today in the opening of the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant (SBIWTP) in San Diego, Calif.

     The plant is designed to treat excess sewage from Tijuana and prevent it from flowing into the United States through the Tijuana River Valley.

     "The completion of this plant is a testament to the persistence and vision of a host of unlikely partners on both sides of the border brought together by a desire to protect their communities and the environment," said Marcus.  "This great day is the culmination of efforts by both federal governments, the states of California and Baja, California,  the cities of San Diego and Tijuana, and most important, the citizens who have worked toward this day for years.  The startup of this plant is a tremendous milestone in our efforts to consign the era of sewage spills to the history books."

     "This project brings together the governments of both the United States and Mexico to solve a common problem and improve the environment to benefit residents on both sides of the border," said Bernal. "This has been exemplified by the cooperation of the two countries in the development of the design, implementing the construction, and sharing the yearly operations and maintenance cost of the facility.  The daily operations require the close coordination between the Mexican and United States sections of the IBWC."

     The United States and Mexico have long held a shared interest in their common border and have been involved in several joint projects to address the rapid population and industrial development and the environmental problems that accompany that growth.

      In 1990, the two countries agreed to build the plant on the U.S. side of the border as part of a regional solution.  The plant demonstrates the importance the two nations place on restoring the environmental quality of  the common border that has been plagued by santitation problems for over 50 years.

     "The goodwill and cooperation of our two governments on environmental issues is an important and positive part of our overall bilateral relationship," said Marcus.  "We will continue to work together in finding other innovative ways to solve the environmental problems our two nations face and to develop  good  infrastructure along our border that stretches 1500 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean."
     The $109 million wastewater treatment plant was built jointly by the U.S. EPA, the International Boundary and Water Commission, the state of California, and the city of San Diego.  Funding for the construction of the treatment plant has been provided by the United States, Mexico and state of California.

      The plant will treat up to 25 million gallons of sewage per day when fully operational.  Until the completion of the South Bay Ocean Outfall in the summer of 1998, the treated wastewater will be discharged to the city of San Diego wastewater plant at Pt. Loma.  It will be operated by IBWC.

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