On June 14th, 2011 the Director of the State Public Services Commission of Tijuana (CESPT) hosted a tour for San Diego clean water stakeholders to discuss water quality issues in the border region. City of Imperial Beach councilmembers Jim King and Brian Bilbray were joined by Dan Murphy from Surfrider San Diego, Danielle Litke from the Tijuana River Research Reserve, Chris Helmer Environmental Manager for the City of Imperial Beach, IB Patch editor Khari Johnson and WiLDCOAST staff were welcomed at the CESPT headquarters. CESPT Director Ing. Hernando Duran and sub-director of sanitation Ing. Juan Manuel Tamayo briefed the group on the wastewater treatment efforts accomplished by CESPT in the last 20 years. Among these achievements are the recently built Mexican treatment plants Arturo Herrera and La Morita which treat ten and six million gallons per day respectively. Additionally in order to properly dispose the treated wastewater, a new 2300 meter impulsion line was built to divert the treated effluent to Punta Bandera (south of Playas de Tijuana) The total investment in these three plants was 22 million dollars which enable the City of Tijuana to treat wastewater up to tertiary level by means of activated sludge reactors and disinfection by ultraviolet light, allowing the agency to produce water of sufficient quality for reuse in the creation of green areas such as parks and ecological recreation centers in the city.

The group then visited the Arturo Herrera Wastewater Treatment Plant where, the sub-director of sanitation services explained how they have developed a very unique educational program through local schools and fun activities at the treatment plant. The agency has created an interactive space for children to learn the wastewater treatment process. CESPT firmly believes that these educational efforts will lead to increased water conservation.

Additionally, the sub-director informed the group that these tretament plants took a lot of effort to build.

Because they are a state-run yet not state-funded agency, the funding to build these plants came from a Japanese Bank line of credit that had to be approved by the state congress. “we have to pay all of this money back ” said the sub-director, “it is definitely a challenge”.

The tour ended at the CILA pump station, a system that was put in place to redirect effluent from the Tijuana River during dry weather season and pump it over the city’s canyons to be treated and then discharged at Punta Bandera. Thanks to this operating system beach water quality is ensured in south San Diego Beaches during dry weather season.

“This was a very educational experience for me” said Jim King City of IB councilmember- “it’s pretty amazing to see the great efforts Mexico is making to address water quality issues here at the border”.

To see pictures from the tour visit: http://www.wildcoast.net/media-center/news/251