December 22, 2020

NADB, EPA and Mexicali Water Utility focused on reducing transboundary flows of sewage into New River

  • $10.6 million in funding have been approved for projects in 2020

The North American Development Bank (NADB) and the Mexicali water utility (Comisión Estatal de Servicios Públicos de Mexicali (CESPM) signed a US$2 million grant from the Border Environment Infrastructure Fund (BEIF), which is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and administered by the Bank.

“This project highlights EPA’s ongoing commitment to work with our partners in Mexico to improve water quality in the New River by more effectively collecting and treating wastewater,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This is a cost-effective solution that will protect the environment as well as the health and safety of residents in Mexicali and Calexico.”

“EPA is proud of our long-standing partnership with Mexico to address environmental health concerns of mutual interest along the US-Mexico Border, using funding from the North American Development Bank,” said Chad McIntosh, EPA Assistant Administrator for International and Tribal Affairs.

The grant will finance the rehabilitation of 12 small lift stations for the municipal wastewater collection system. The remaining US$2 million will be funded through Mexican federal, state, and local agencies for a total project cost of US$4 million.  The new lift stations will help protect the health and environment by minimizing the risk of sewage backups and overflows onto local streets and into the New River, which flows northward into the United States.

The project will address the problem of 12 small lift stations that have reached or exceeded their expected useful life and are in immediate need of repair and/or replacement. Most of these lift stations are older than 30 years, with some pump replacement work performed over the years. When one of these lift stations fails, untreated wastewater is typically discharged into the New River. The project will improve wastewater conveyance infrastructure for more than 41,000 existing residential connections, benefitting nearly 150,000 residents.

“I'm very pleased that the NADBank issued a $2 million grant to CESPM that will help finance projects to mitigate cross-border pollution from flowing into the New River," said Rep. Juan Vargas. "Our border region needs infrastructure and restoration programs to help protect the public, environment, and economy.  Binational collaboration, from all levels of government, is essential to tackling the ongoing cross-border pollution crisis."

“NADB is proud to have collaborated with EPA to provide the financing for this important project in Mexicali, Baja California,” said Calixto Mateos, NADB Managing Director.  “Projects like these illustrate the Bank’s continued commitment to end transboundary flows including sewage and non-point pollution.”

This project, in conjunction with another wastewater collection project that was approved in May 2020, will go toward helping reduce water pollution and the risk of waterborne diseases.  The Wastewater Collection System Phase 1 will replace more than 38,000 feet of deteriorated pipelines and rehabilitate three other lift stations. Funding for the Phase 1 project was supported through a US$3.3 million BEIF grant and US$3.3 million from Mexican federal, state, and local agencies.  These projects are part of a strategic wastewater plan aimed at reducing discharges to the New River, prioritizing infrastructure rehabilitation, and establishing a financial strategy.