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Accueil du site → Doctorat → États-Unis → 2013 → Environmental equity and urban sustainability : an analysis of untreated household wastewater in Tijuana, Mexico

University of Southern California (2013)

Environmental equity and urban sustainability : an analysis of untreated household wastewater in Tijuana, Mexico

Russell, Rachel

Titre : Environmental equity and urban sustainability : an analysis of untreated household wastewater in Tijuana, Mexico

Auteur : Russell, Rachel

Université de soutenance : University of Southern California

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2013

The global population is increasingly urban. This rapid urbanization and accompanying industrial growth has forced cities to draw on increasingly distant environments for resources and waste sinks. At the same time, the quality of life in urban areas has declined, leaving the urban poor without access to basic urban services, including adequate housing and water, waste, and sanitation services. This dissertation explores the human and environmental implications of inadequate sanitation collection and treatment infrastructure in Tijuana, and in the larger transborder Tijuana River Watershed. This study investigates the political, social, economic, and geographic contexts that have produced inequitable distribution of wastewater infrastructure in Tijuana and degraded the binational ecosystem. Qualitative and quantitative research methods are employed to examine the discursive, environmental justice, and urban sustainability aspects of untreated wastewater in this rapidly urbanizing border city. ❧ This dissertation has three research objectives. The first objective examines and identifies the socioeconomic and geographic factors that influence a lack of access to wastewater collection infrastructure. This analysis reveals the areas of Tijuana most susceptible to insufficient infrastructure, and discusses the social, political, economic, and geographic processes that have affected the city’s distribution of wastewater infrastructure. Findings suggest that areas of Tijuana with low levels of piped water service, low levels of education, and a physical geography of steep slopes are most likely to also lack wastewater service. The second objective of this dissertation examines media communications surrounding transborder untreated wastewater flows in Tijuana and San Diego. This research objective seeks to understand the complex process of discourse formation surrounding a transborder environmental issue. Media discourse in Tijuana and San Diego are markedly different. Residents of Tijuana are exposed to a positive discourse focused on government infrastructure improvements. Alternatively, residents of San Diego are presented with a problem-focused discourse, highlighting the ongoing quality of life and environmental challenges caused by untreated wastewater. Lastly, the final research objective investigates two sustainable wastewater treatment technologies used in Tijuana, a large-scale centralized facility and a small-scale, alternative facility, to better understand the contributions of these technologies to the city’s economic, social, and environmental sustainability. A sustainable indicator analysis reveals that while Ecoparque, the small-scale alternative facility, makes important contributions to reforestation, slope stabilization, and community education programs, it lacks the capacity and treatment standards to meet the current and future needs of Tijuana. This chapter also employs a case study to reveal the difficult and complicated processes of introducing Ecoparque to a rapidly developing city. ❧ This dissertation suggests that historic and contemporary processes shape and reshape the uneven distribution of wastewater collection and treatment infrastructure. This in turn has created the city’s wastewater riskscapes, where urban poor and recent migrants bear the most risk and vulnerability to the untreated wastewater. Extending a more equitable wastewater collection and treatment network would mitigate and protect the regional environment from future degradation caused by untreated wastewater. In addition, incorporating sustainable treatment technologies to new and existing wastewater treatment facilities would protect the region’s limited potable water resources while promoting resource recovery and reuse.

Mots clés : Tijuana ; Mexico ; wastewater ; international environmental policy ; environmental equity ; sustainable wastewater treatment

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Page publiée le 2 janvier 2018