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International sewage solution for Nogales

Dem Congressman, GOP Senator join to fix problem
Posted at 7:55 PM, Jun 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-21 22:55:27-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - Progress is being made on an important international issue that involves -- sewage.

That's what Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva and Republican Senator Martha McSally are saying.

They're working together to help the City of Nogales cope with a leaky pipeline -- that carries millions of gallons of sewage from Mexico -- and spills into the US side.

When the Nogales Wash is running hard there's trouble buried under the concrete channel.

It's a huge sewer pipe that carries millions of gallons of sewage from Mexico.

The line, called the International Outfall Interceptor, or IOI is the result of a treaty with Mexico that dates back 75 years.

The line's old, and when it leaks, sewage can spread through the Nogales Wash and down the Santa Cruz River.

Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino says about 90 percent of the sewage in the line is from Mexico but when the line leaks a dispute breaks out over who should pay for repairs---Nogales or the U-S Government which made the sewage agreement with Mexico.

"As a matter of fact, when you come from the border almost all the way, about 3/4 of a mile north, almost a mile north of the border that's where our first connection is and that's already in the City of Nogales. So from there south, that doesn't belong to the City of Nogales."

Mayor Garino says Nogales can't cover the millions repairs would require.

Now Congressman Raul Grijalva's passed a bill through a key House committee that makes it clear the Federal government should cover repairs.

"Now the money that's been set aside 21 million, plus 4 million, plus additional money from the state and private sources can go to work to begin to reconstruct this pipeline that will fit the needs of the present time and get rid of the dangers that are being imposed by this aging pipeline."

The plan still has to pass the Senate, where Senator Martha McSally is crossing party lines to get it through.

"It's a good example of bipartisan work on something important for Arizona that I appreciate you guys talking about because people are so jaded right now that nobody's working together. Grijalva and I led on the drought contigency plan and we're working on this IOI issue as well.">

And once repairs are made Nogales won't have to worry about surging monsoon water surging with sewage too.