WASHINGTON— This week, the Arizona of Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and the United States Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) announced a settlement agreement to address the overflow of untreated wastewater into the Nogales Wash and Santa Cruz River. In response, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva issued the following statement:
“The current state of the International Outfall Interceptor is a public health risk and endangers the health and well-being of Southern Arizona’s residents. After working many years to secure funding to solve this health hazard, this settlement is a positive step toward remedying a problem that has plagued Nogales and other communities along the wash for far too long. I look forward to working with the IBWC, the City of Nogales, and Santa Cruz County to remedy this issue while working with my colleagues in the House and the Senate to resolve the issues of ownership, wastewater flows, and maintenance and operations. The status quo is unacceptable.”
Prior to the ban on earmarks, Rep. Grijalva worked each year since 2004 to secure funding for the Nogales Wash / Chula Vista and International Outflow Interceptor projects through the appropriations process. He requested $10 million for the project in fiscal year 2009 and $19.7 million in fiscal years 2010 and 2011. His Border Infrastructure and Jobs Act, first introduced in 2011, included an additional authorization of appropriations.
Additionally, Rep. Grijalva filed an amendment to the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 to require the United States Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission to provide resources for the Nogales Sanitation Project. Rep. Grijalva had requested additional funding for IBWC for the IOI.
Last year he passed an amendment to direct $4 million within the IBWC to clarify the responsibility for maintenance and operation of the IOI. Additionally, he introduced H.R.3204, the Nogales Wastewater Fairness Act to clarify the issues of responsibility of the IOI.