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United States Commissioner Maria-Elena Giner of the International Boundary and Water Commission, United States and Mexico (IBWC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Martha Guzman today announced the U.S. Section of the Commission (USIBWC) has awarded a $4,659,432.00 contract to Arcadis, U.S., Inc. to start work on border water infrastructure improvements at San Diego, California – Tijuana, Baja California. This marks important progress toward implementing a recently signed binational IBWC agreement known as Minute No. 328, “Sanitation Infrastructure Projects in San Diego, California – Tijuana, Baja California for Immediate Implementation and for Future Development,”  

The contract will lay the groundwork to double the size of the USIBWC’s South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant (SBIWTP) in San Diego, California, which currently provides treatment to U.S. standards for 25 million gallons per day of wastewater from Tijuana. Under Minute 328, this plant expansion is part of a package of projects in both countries expected to result in a 50% reduction in the number of days of transborder wastewater flow in the Tijuana River and an 80% reduction in the volume of untreated wastewater discharged to the Pacific Ocean six miles south of the border.

“This is an important first step to fix the region’s border sanitation problem,” said Commissioner Giner.  “This work will prepare us to use available funds efficiently and to move quickly to the next phase – design and construction of the expanded treatment plant. I am committed to transparency in how we implement this project and to keep our stakeholders informed.”

“This contract represents a critical step towards controlling the transborder pollution that has long burdened communities in the region and harmed Tijuana River Valley ecosystems” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “The effort to expand the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant, which this contract supports, will mean residents on both sides of the border will have a healthier, cleaner environment for years to come.”

Under the contract, Arcadis will:

  • Determine required upgrades and repairs to the existing plant
  • Provide professional recommendation on the maximum size of the plant expansion with available funding
  • Review and recommend the best procurement method for design and construction of the plant and any required upgrades to the existing plant
  • Prepare design and construction cost estimates
  • Prepare a detailed project scope of work for the plant expansion

This Phase 1 pre-design work will enable USIBWC to solicit bids for design of the SBIWTP expansion by summer 2023. The contractor may also provide Program Management and deliverable reviews as part of the Design and Construction phases.  

The SBIWTP expansion is a major element of the Minute 328 projects, which also include constructing a new treatment plant in Mexico and rehabilitating and replacing aging sewer lines and pump stations in Tijuana.

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