Two sewer spills in Nogales
Reporter: Craig Smith
NOGALES, Ariz (KGUN9-TV) - There was a smelly, unhealthy mess in Nogales Friday: raw sewage from Mexico through two spots in town.
The sewage has been flowing in Nogales perhaps as long as a week. It comes from a sewer line break in Mexico that's been flowing into the wash and across the border.
The City of Nogales worried for years there'd be a sewage spill in the wash if the crumbling concrete walls let water undermine a huge sewer pipe underneath the wash. Now there's a leak for another reason: a construction accident in Mexico broke a line two feet across and sent sewage into the wash on both sides of the border.
That is not good news for residents like Job Villanueva.
"I'm very concerned to be honest with you because there's going to be a lot of diseases and my kids they go to school near here so that's one of the main concerns."
In another spot, there's sewage from a smaller leak at the Trickey Wash. Sediment and debris clogged a line in Mexico and led to an overflow workers channeled into a man hole.
Smell at that spot is a combination of sewage and chlorine because of white chlorine cakes positioned in the sewage flow to kill germs as the water flows past.
A joint US-Mexican commission called the International Boundary and Water Commission controls the cross border sewer line. Carlos Pena is the principal engineer for US operations.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked Pena: "Is there any way to prevent this sort of thing or is it just a construction accident and that's all there is to it?
He says, " Well, Mexico has done a lot as I mentioned earlier in the early 90s there were a lot of sewer breaks in Mexico. The Mexican government has done a lot in terms of improving their infrastructure. "
The Santa Cruz County Health Department is repeating its advice to keep people and pets out of Nogales and Trickey Washes. Anyone ill from exposure would probably have diarrhea and nausea. So far no one's come into Nogales Holy Cross hospital with symptoms like that.