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U.S. EPA MAKES WASTEWATER TREATMENT DECISION

Release Date: 12/8/1999
Contact Information: Randy Wittorp, U.S. EPA, 415-744-1589

     Hofer Site selected for wastewater treatment ponds

     SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission today released a record of decision for secondary treatment at the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant, selecting completely mixed aerated ponds at the Hofer site as the preferred treatment alternative.

     "It's time to finish this job and look toward the future," said Felicia Marcus, the EPA's regional  administrator.  "All of us have a lot of work to do to address border sewage treatment needs."

     The agencies selected this treatment method to protect public health and the ocean environment and fulfill discharge permit requirements.  The environmental impact statement fully evaluated seven treatment alternatives from which the Hofer ponds were chosen.  The ponds will meet all secondary treatment standards and California Ocean Plan requirements.

    The U.S. EPA and the U.S. IBWC delayed their decision by seven months in order to explore a proposal to locate the ponds in Tijuana, an option supported by Congressmen Filner and Bilbray.  However, after further consideration, the U.S. EPA and the U.S. IBWC found that the ponds at the Hofer site remained the preferred alternative for achieving secondary treatment rapidly to protect beaches and comply with treaty, court and regulatory deadlines.

     Now that the decision is made, the U.S. EPA and the U.S. IBWC will accelerate their efforts to work with Mexico as well as the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission and the North American Development Bank on expanding treatment capacity for Tijuana sewage.  Additional treatment capacity for Tijuana wastewater will be needed as the city continues to grow.  Treatment sites in Mexico will be considered as key options.

    Next steps for the agencies include designing the plant upgrades, which are anticipated to take 8 months to one year to complete.  U.S. EPA and U.S. IBWC will consider enhancements to the ponds during the design phase to address community concerns.

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