by Photo courtesy of San Diego County

San Diego County leaders will seek federal funding to repair stormwater infrastructure to protect the region’s bodies of water from pollutants. 

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors said more than $2 billion is available in the federal Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act that Congress passed in November to protect bodies of water. Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer was directed by supervisors to pursue funding for management and better infrastructure in unincorporated areas and also work with regional partners. 

According to officials, the county invests nearly $50 million to deal with stormwater runoff, but another $50 million is needed to make repairs. 

According to Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, who originally made the proposal, the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund, a federal/state partnership, will be increased through 2026. 
That money can be used for pollution control, tracking emerging contaminants and negative-interest loans, and loan forgiveness.

“For far too long, investments in the basic infrastructure we need to protect our coastlines and communities have been underfunded, leading to the pollution that threatens the quality of life,” Lawson-Remer’s office wrote in a statement. 

Supervisor Nora Vargas said that along with better stormwater systems, the county also works with regional partners to reduce pollution in the Tijuana River Valley. According to the county, untreated stormwater carries trash, metals, pesticides, and other pollutants that threaten the health of San Diegans. 

Matt O'Malley, executive director of San Diego Coastkeeper, said in a statement that more erratic rainfall means “our systems are being inundated and failing,'' and that sewage systems leak into nearby stormwater pipes and waterways.

“Our communities have a right to clean, safe water,'' O'Malley said. 

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