Waste No Longer Flowing Into Nogales Wash, IOI Bypass System Completed

Nogales, Arizona, meets Nogales, Sonora at the US / Mexico international border. [Photo courtesy City of Nogales]

Officials with the Santa Cruz County Emergency Operations Center received an update from the United States Section of the International Boundary and Waster Commission (USIBWC). At 2 a.m. on August 2, crews in Nogales, Arizona completed installation of a bypass system to divert sewage that had been leaking from the partial breach. The sewage is now being conveyed for treatment at the Nogales International Wastewater Treatment Plant and is no longer flowing into the Nogales Wash.

The work was carried out by KE&G Construction, Inc. of Tucson, Arizona under contract to the USIBWC. Personnel installed the temporary pipeline around the damaged section of the International Outfall Interceptor (IOI) to contain the sewage so the IOI can be inspected and repaired.

Officials with the Arizona Division of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) will continue daily sample collection and testing.

Santa Cruz County Health Services continues to recommend to those who live within the county, along the Santa Cruz River, and have a private well within 100 ft. of the waterway have their wells tested for contamination. Even in the absence of untreated wastewater, storm flows are typically high in pollutants that can be harmful.

The Department of Agriculture is advising livestock owners and farmers in the region to avoid using water from the Santa Cruz River to water food crops or gardens until there is more information about the extent of the contamination.

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