Hunter tackles New River woes

January 31, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, is concerned that factories or housing along miles of the New River could be directly polluting the waterway instead of sending waste to Mexicali's new treatment facility.

On Wednesday, Hunter met with Carlos Ramirez, U.S. Commissioner on the International Boundary and Water Commission.

Hunter asked Ramirez to physically check the efficiency of wastewater treatment facilities in Mexicali. Ramirez agreed to report to Hunter when a thorough study is complete.

Hunter said once he learns more about the situation, he'll brief Congress.

If the commission finds Mexicali private parties are polluting the river, Hunter said, "My recommendation? Let's pay for fixing this problem. If a company is illegally polluting the river, we can ask Mexico to stop them," Hunter said.

What Hunter doesn't want to see happen to the Imperial Valley is what happened to San Diego.

A Tijuana wastewater treatment plant brought online in 1998 has already been deemed insufficient to deal with the huge amounts of raw waste produced by Tijuana's growing population. Excess waste not treated at the Tijuana facility has flowed into South Bay San Diego recently.


In Mexicali, a huge wastewater plant in the center of town is nearing completion.

"Sometimes while you're fixing one problem you find another one has been started. We don't want to find out after we completed this thing," Hunter said.

The longtime Imperial Valley representative is confident Ramirez's commission will conduct a thorough review.

Ramirez was appointed by President George W. Bush last year. The Democrat is a former mayor of El Paso.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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