Less than 48 hours after returning from a bi-partisan tour of the Middle East, U.S. Sen. Darrell Issa (R-49th District) and U.S. Sen. Juan Vargas (D-51st District) toured the U.S.-Mexico border searching for solutions to recurring sewage spills from Tijuana.
The two congressmen met with representatives from the International Boundry and Water Commission, the Army Corps of Engineers and San Diego city officials Friday.
“The reality is, there is no simple fix. Everyone wants a simple fix,” said Vargas.
The pair took a guided walk along the Tijuana River Channel, which overflowed during recent storms. The channel is still over run with debris.
“The long term solution is to insist that Tijuana, the Mexican government build a first world sewage system, something they’ve been reluctant to do. They’ve simply done it on the cheap,” said Issa.
Both asked the local officials for interim solutions.
“Can we figure out where the flows are? Can we dam some up? Can we treat them somewhere a little bit differently, maybe out here in the Tijuana River Valley,” said Vargas.
Vargas also, once again, called on congress to allocate $5 million in funding for the U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Grant Program.
“I think what we’re going to do, and we’re going to spend taxpayers dollars, is to provide the technical expertise so that they know what to do to the greatest extent possible,” said Issa.
Part of the tour included a drive along the current border fence. Vargas took a jab at President Donald Trump's plan to build an expensive border wall.
“Instead of building a wall that’s going to have no use at all, why don’t we build a sewer system here that treats the sewage. That’s a much better solution for that money,” said Vargas.