A long-awaited report on the cross-border sewage that originates in Tijuana and winds up on San Diego’s shores withholds judgment on the controversial Bajagua Project, while calling for detente among the environmentalists divided over the issue.

The report commissioned by the San Diego Foundation points out positives and negatives of the Bajagua Project, the private company that plans to expand and improve treatment at a San Ysidro sewage plant.

Cory Briggs, a local environmental attorney who authored the report, says the Bajagua Project would provide “a narrow range of public health benefits” by increasing the amount of border sewage treated from 25 million gallons daily to 59 million gallons. It will also improve the level of treatment.

Briggs notes that Bajagua’s critics are justified in their complaints that the project’s advocates have promised more than they can deliver. Bajagua’s website has said it will provide for the treatment of most if not all of the sewage impacting the United States, Briggs writes.

“The Bajagua Project has indeed been promoted as something much more than it is,” the report states.

But while Bajagua’s critics have attacked the project’s lobbying and political donations, Briggs says no proof exists that any actions were illegal.

“It is difficult to blame them for exploiting all lawful avenues to the fullest extent,” the report says.

Briggs calls for a truce between the environmentalists who have fought over the project’s merits.

“Proponents should acknowledge the project and its history are not perfect and it is not a comprehensive solution,” Briggs writes. “Opponents should acknowledge it is one part of an overall strategy for fighting sewage and will provide important environmental and public health benefits if completed.”

We’ll have more on this report later.


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