Q: Should the City of Coronado take a more active role in the legal challenges and public policy relating to sewage emanating from Mexico, which is impacting beaches in Coronado and the South Bay?
A: Absolutely, Coronado should take a much more active role in the sewage crisis. As a member of Citizens Against Sewage (CAS), I endorse the solutions outlined by CAS in their “Solutions Punch List” below:
County of SD should declare state of emergency in Tijuana River Valley (TRV) ASAP (Cities of IB and SD have already declared state of emergency). The blue print for County to declare emergency can be found in CA Health & Safety Code § 101080, § 101085 and § 101075.
County of SD (or cities of SD and IB jointly) should file for state relief per California Disaster Assistance Act (CDAA) to free up relevant emergency funding for TRV sewage infrastructure and cleanup. State of CA can then request federal emergency relief.
City of Coronado should declare state of emergency during next sewage spill resulting in beach closures within Coronado city limits – then jointly file for CDAA relief with City of IB.
Identify land in TRV suitable for bio-remediation channel(s) for pretreatment of waters that bypass the SBIWTP. Identify sources for design and construction, ideally under emergency order for funding and expediting construction.
No County of SD recreational campground in TRV before sewage spills resolved.
Current lawsuit against IBWC and Veolia Water filed by City of IB, City of Chula Vista, and Port of SD – don’t lift foot off gas pedal until favorable settlement or judgment. Coronado should terminate Reimbursement Agreement and join lawsuit as plaintiff.
Lawsuits against IBWC filed by Surfrider Foundation, and State of CA via San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board and CA Attorney General – don’t lift foot off gas pedal until favorable settlement or judgment.
Get elected officials to tour TRV and engage on this topic – e.g., President Trump, new head of EPA (once announced), Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, CA Gubernatorial candidates Gavin Newsom & John Cox, etc.
Maximum media exposure for our regional trans-border sewage crisis – need stories to go national – Trump re-tweets, etc.
Continued citizen pressure on relevant local, state, and federal elected officials. (e.g., letter writing, petitions, marches, social media pressure, speak at council meetings, etc.).
Passage and proper implementation of H.R. 3794 (Sewage Free TRV Act of 2017), H.R. 3795 (TRV Comprehensive Protection and Rehabilitation Act of 2017), & SJR-22 (TRV).
Pursue relevant trans-border sewage solutions in NAFTA renegotiation.
Continue BWIP (Border Wastewater Infrastructure Program) funding – $10M+/year.
Local elected officials should continue stakeholder meetings and lobby relevant legislators to discuss solutions and demand action.
Pressure IBWC for an action plan.
Continued pressure on Mexico for relevant sewage infrastructure and solutions on Mexico side of border, including Punta Bandera outfall 5 miles south of the border. Relevant stakeholders including Coronado, Chula Vista and Port should contribute to IB’s lobbying efforts south of the border.