TUCSON—Today, the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) awarded a $13.8 million contract to repair the International Outfall Interceptor (IOI). The funding is for phases 1, 2, and 3 and will not cover other repairs. The pipeline carries wastewater from Nogales, Sonora and Nogales, Arizona to a water treatment facility in Rio Rico, Arizona and is plagued by periodic leaks and overflows due to years of neglect.
“The current state of the IOI is a public health nightmare for the people of Santa Cruz County who live under the threat of water contamination when the IOI overflows,” said Rep. Grijalva. “I have fought for years to clarify responsibility of the IOI and secure federal funding for the needed repairs to keep my constituents safe. While this took entirely too long to come about, I’m pleased to see the needed repairs finally moving forward and hope the rest of the funding allocated to the IBWC for repairs is quickly dispersed.”
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.