EPA updates residents on efforts to reduce cross-border pollution

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SAN DIEGO — A representative from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday evening updated San Diego residents on the EPA’s efforts to reduce transboundary pollution in the water between Mexico and the United States.

Local nonprofit Citizens’ Oversight organized the informal meeting at Balboa Park, where the public had the opportunity to ask questions and share concerns.

“It was interesting to us because we live here in California, we care about the bay, we hear about the ocean and we also care about Imperial Beach because we go there a lot and we have property down there,” said San Diego resident Ray Carruthers.

EPA environmental engineer Douglas Liden shared about the history Tijuana’s current water infrastructure and the ways Mexico is working with the U.S. on the issue.

“We just received a letter of commitment from the Federal Water Commission in Mexico saying they want to apply 35 million gallons specifically to address Tijuana wastewater issues this coming year,” Liden said.

The EPA has funded a number of studies to look for solutions to transboundary pollution in both countries and that work will continue. There has been annual funding dedicated to border water infrastructure since 1996 and the hope is that funding will continue.

“Clearly there is a large group of people working on this putting brain power into it and we hope they’re going to come up with some good solutions,” said Carruthers. “I think the bottom line is money needs to come in from someplace to help get the fix is in place.”

The EPA received $15 million from Congress for border water infrastructure this year. That number has been as high as $100 million and as low as $5 million some years.

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