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PRESIDENT CLINTON SIGNS ORDER SPEEDING SEWAGE CLEANUP

Release Date: 08/11/94
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FOR RELEASE: THURSDAY, AUGUST 4, 1994

PRESIDENT CLINTON SIGNS ORDER SPEEDING SEWAGE CLEANUP

(Washington) President Clinton today designated the city of San Diego as eligible to receive federal Clean Water Act grants to manage construction of part of the Tijuana-South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant. The plant is designed to treat wastewater which flows, untreated, from Tijuana and across the border into the U.S. The waste has forced numerous beaches closings in California, and has disgusted residents and tourists alike with foul odors and unhealthy conditions.

In response to the presidential designation, Carol M. Browner, Administrator of the U.S. EPA, said "The President has kept his promise to the people of Southern California. This shows what breaking policy gridlock in Washington can mean to people outside the beltway." Browner cited the leadership of San Diego Congressmen Bob Filner (D-50-CA) and Lynn Schenk (D- 49-CA) in helping to speed construction of the plant.

In the memorandum of designation to Browner, the President noted that "I have seen first hand the severity of the problems and expressed my grave concern...about the effect that Tijuana sewage is having on San Diego." The presidential designation is required under the Water Quality Act of 1987 to allow any non-federal agency to participate in plant construction.

San Diego will manage construction of the massive "outfall" pipe which will carry the plant's treated wastes some 3.5 miles into the Pacific ocean. The city intends to use some of the pipe's capacity to carry some of the city's own treated municipal wastewater. Much of the pipe will be tunnelled under the Tijuana River Estuary on its way to the ocean in order to protect the estuary's fragile ecosystem.

In 1993, project sponsors decided to put the project on a "fast track" schedule. It will be built in stages, with advanced primary treatment of the wastewater to be operational in early 1996 - many months ahead of the previous schedule.

The $384 million wastewater treatment plant is being built jointly by the EPA, the International Boundary and Water Commission, the state of California, and the city of San Diego, with technical assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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