Beach closed in Imperial Beach
An Imperial Beach lifeguard places a beach closure notice. Courtesy OnScene.TV

Rep. Scott Peters introduced legislation Tuesday to provide $100 million in annual construction funding to rehabilitate and expand the dilapidated International Wastewater Treatment Plant that is contributing to pollution closing nearby South Bay beaches.

“The overwhelming flows of untreated sewage that close our beaches, sicken our citizens, and hurt our businesses is a catastrophe for nearby residents and it must come to an end,” said Peters. “I am committed to doing everything in my power to find the funds we need to solve this urgent crisis.”

Peters introduced two amendments to the 2024 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill with the support of Congressional colleagues Juan Vargas, Sara Jacobs and Mike Levin.

“These amendments are just one vital piece of that puzzle in addition to immediate emergency funds that we have requested,” said Peters, referring to another $310 million in emergency construction funding.

Vargas predicted that increasing the construction budget “will make a substantial difference” in reducing the sewage flow.

Both the Mexico and the United States share responsibility for operations at the plant, which is located on the border about two miles west of the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.