Will the proposed projects result in more raw sewage being discharged to the Ocean? – No! EPA’s plan will improve the status quo.

EPA’s proposed suite of projects will improve treatment and reduce discharges of raw sewage to both the Tijuana River and the Pacific Ocean. The projects will accomplish this in two ways:

1. Increasing the overall amount of wastewater that can be treated; and

2. Diverting sewage and water away from the San Antonio de las Buenos treatment plant in Mexico and into treatment plants that work.

The San Antonio de las Buenos Treatment Plant is located 5 miles south of the border in Mexico. The plant takes in raw sewage from Tijuana and river water from the Tijuana River that is piped to the plant from the main channel of the river. The plant is essentially non-functional and discharges approximately 35 million gallons of untreated sewage and Tijuana River water into the Ocean every day. This sewage enters the Ocean near Punta Bandera, Mexico, and often flows north to the United States. It is the main source of beach closures in Imperial Beach and Coronado during the summer months.

To address this pollution and to ensure less water from the Tijuana River reaches the ocean, the EPA plans to construct a “primary level” sewage treatment plant that will take up to 60 million gallons of water from the Tijuana River per day. The plant will treat the river water to “primary” levels before discharging it through the existing South Bay Ocean Outfall to the Pacific Ocean.

This “primary” treatment plant will operate in a manner that is similar to the City of San Diego’s Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Point Loma plant treats raw sewage to a “primary” level before it is discharged to the Pacific Ocean via the Point Loma Ocean Outfall. The main difference between EPA’s proposed treatment plant and the Point Loma Treatment Plant is that the Point Loma plant treats for some additional pollutants, and the Point Loma Ocean Outfall discharges in approximately 300 feet of water (compared to 90 feet at the South Bay Ocean Outfall; both outfalls are 3 miles offshore).

During the project development process, some members of the community expressed concern that treated wastewater from the existing treatment plant and from the new “primary” treatment plant would be discharged to the Ocean via the South Bay Ocean Outfall. The groups raised concerns that the discharges would harm coastal ecology and continue to close beaches because the South Bay Ocean Outfall is too shallow and because EPA’s proposed projects will increase the overall volume of treated wastewater that is discharged.

There is no evidence that these impacts will occur. Scripps Institute of Oceanography has extensively studied the Point Loma Ocean Outfall and found that it does not have negative impacts on the Pacific Ocean or local beaches. The EPA’s proposed plan would use a similar treatment process and discharge method. At a minimum, EPA’s proposal will improve the status quo, under which there is no treatment for this water before it is discharged directly into coastal waters in Mexico or it remains in the Tijuana River and flows directly into the Ocean in close proximity to Imperial Beach.

Show All Answers

1. What is the plan for addressing sewage coming from Mexico? – EPA has planned several projects to address cross-border sewage.
2. What is the status of funding for the EPA’s plan? – $494 million committed, $130 million still needed.
3. Will the proposed projects result in more raw sewage being discharged to the Ocean? – No! EPA’s plan will improve the status quo.
4. Will EPA’s plan reduce sewage coming from the San Antonio de las Buenos treatment plant further south in Mexico? – Yes! By as much as 95%.
5. Was the Coronado Senior Association moved out of the John D. Spreckels Center to make room for the City’s Cultural Arts senior management analyst?
6. Since the Spreckels Center does not have the word “senior” anywhere on the facility, does the City have a true “senior center” that addresses the needs of those 50 and older?
7. Do I have to recycle my food waste now that EDCO has announced its new Organic Recycling Program?
8. Why does the City waste money watering the synthetic turf at the Lawn Bowling Green?
9. Does the City’s affordable housing provider San Diego Interfaith Housing treat tenants in an arbitrary, unpredictable, discriminatory fashion and evict people without cause?
10. Are the current asphalt repairs simply “make-work” and unnecessary?
11. Are there fresh water aquifers in Coronado that could be used for a supply of potable water?
12. Did the City of Newport Beach successfully challenge a state law, Senate Bill 2, that mandates a city's zoning codes accommodate emergency shelters and transitional housing?
13. Did the new traffic signal at Alameda Boulevard and Fourth Street cause a back-up of traffic east of the intersection on Wednesday, November 6?
14. Does refinancing the former redevelopment agency’s bonds and loans create more density in Coronado?
15. Does the City’s affordable housing provider San Diego Interfaith Housing treat tenants in an arbitrary, unpredictable, discriminatory fashion and evict people without cause?
16. How can the City leave the lights on at the Coronado Public Library overnight especially during the current heat wave and with potential rotating outages?
17. How does a City get selected to Dr. Beach’s Top 10 Best Beaches in America list?
18. Is it true that enterococci bacteria can be caused by decaying kelp and why doesn’t the City think the current advisory at Avenida del Sol is related to sewage impacts from the Tijuana River or Mexico
19. Is the City going to make changes at Coronado Cays Park?
20. Is the City not respecting its beautiful historic sidewalks?
21. Is the City trying to extend San Diego’s Lindbergh Field into Coronado?
22. Is the water quality being affected in South Beach and is Central Beach being tested for the Fourth of July?
23. Is there still time to have a say on the Coronado Cays Park Master Plan?
24. It has been reported in national news stories based on a local report that the City of Coronado’s beach was closed for several weeks. Is that true?
25. Questions have come up in the community about what uses are allowed in the City of Coronado’s R-1A residential zoning code. What are those uses?
26. The City has fire rings at North Beach that get very busy during the summer. What is the City’s fire ring policy? How does the City monitor behavior at the fire rings and is it enough?
27. What are the white cones along the Silver Strand State Highway?
28. Is the National Citizen Survey conducted by the National Research Center valid?
29. What is the current status of the Golf Course Water Recycling and Turf Care Facility project or the environmental review? How are the potential environmental impacts being addressed?
30. What role does the City have in the redevelopment of the Coramart building and has the City prevented its redevelopment?
31. What was the odor in Coronado on Easter Sunday?
32. Why are there two construction sites at Spreckels Park? And why is the site near Seventh only a concrete pad?
33. Why is the City ending its participation in the Rotary Santa program?
34. Why isn’t the City extending service to the Cays this year?
35. Why were two palms recently removed from the beach?
36. Why is the Glorietta Bay Boat Launch Ramp closed and when will it reopen?