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Article taken from the US EPA

Release date: 04/22/2009

Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, 415.947.4149 Perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov

LOS ANGELES – In Tecate, Mexico today, representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, SEMARNAT, Mexico’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources along with the Border Environmental Cooperation (BECC), the Baja State Water Commission for Tecate (CESPTE), and the city of Tecate, celebrated the completion of the first phase of a wetlands project funded by the United States and Mexico.
Once completed, the newly constructed wetlands will cleanse treated municipal and brewery wastewater that are discharged into the river, create areas for groundwater recharge, help reduce floods, and provide refuge and food for resident and migratory birds.

“Today on Earth Day, the EPA is proud to join Mexico in celebrating an important milestone of this wetlands project that will help revitalize the Tecate River for future generations of residents,” said Doug Liden, Environmental Engineer of the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region.. “Through joint projects such as these, our two countries continue to improve the quality of life along our shared border.”

While only the first cell covering one acre has been completed, sampling by CESPTE has shown a 60 percent reduction in suspended solids in the portion of wastewater being directed through the wetland. In addition, 600 recycled tires were used in the membrane, and 80 abandoned cars were removed from the floodplain to make room for the wetland.

Once construction of the second and third cells is completed later this year, the wetlands will cover nearly four acres and improve the quality of flows from the brewery, as well as the wastewater treatment plant. Since the Tecate River flows across the international border, the wetlands project will improve water quality in both Tecate and California.

The EPA’s Border 2012 program helped finance the wetlands project with a $50,000 grant. The North American Development Bank partially funded the project, as well as Fundacion La Puerta, a Mexican NGO, contributed another $41,000, and the Baja Water Commission provided the remaining $57,000. In addition, the firm Huffman and Carpenter, Inc. provided nearly $60,000 in technical services.

The EPA’s Border 2012 U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program works to protect the environment and public health for ten states on both sides of the 2,000-mile border, including 26 U.S. tribes and seven groups of Mexican indigenous people. Border 2012 seeks to reduce pollution in water, air, and on land, reduce exposure to chemicals from accidental releases or terrorism, and improve environmental stewardship.

For more information on the EPA’s Border 2012 Program, please visit:
http://www.epa.gov/usmexicoborder/

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