NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN) — $13.8M have been granted for repairs of the leaky international pipeline, but the Mayor of Nogales says that’s not enough.
Mayor Arturo Garino says he’s thankful for the help, but says the city needs more than triple that amount to get the job done right.
“Just with my estimation and my experience, it would be somewhere in the vicinity of $65M-$70M to do it,” he told KGUN9.
Mayor Garino says the funds granted by U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission is a band-aid fix to a bigger problem. He says this money will go toward applying a liner inside the sewer line that comes from Nogales, Sonora.
“It’s not to make it bigger. It’s not to take it out of the wash and put it to Morley Avenue. It’s just to reline it,” he added.
He says enlarging the already leaky international pipeline is what is needed, immediately.
“Nogales, Sonora has a capacity of over 9 million gallons a day, but they don't comply with that. They're always between nine and 17 million gallons of water a day. So that water is not running with gravity, it’s running with pressure,” added Mayor Garino.
He says the monsoon makes matters worse.
“During the monsoon season you get stones going in there, wood going under, and sometimes even drugs going through there. So it's not gonna really help the the problem,” he said.
Every year, the Nogales wash floods during the monsoon, causing ruptures in the pipeline. Raw sewage can spill into the wash.
Miguel Rangel owns Mike's Auto Glass, which is located across the Nogales wash. He says the stench has gotten worse over the last 15 years.
“It’s usually in the hotter days. The hotter days bring out more of the smell right here,” added Rangel.
Here’s what they say is needed.
“I think it needs a complete rebuild. The federal government should really help us more because it’s an international deal right here,” said Rangel.
“That line needs to be removed out of the wash, put on Morley Avenue, and put a bigger diameter on the pipe. If it’s not fixed now, then it’s going to be left for the next generation,” Mayor Garino told KGUN9.