WASHINGTON— Today, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva introduced the Nogales Wastewater Fairness Act, which would ensure that the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) is responsible for the much-needed infrastructure repairs and future maintenance of the International Outfall Interceptor (IOI) to prevent raw sewage from spilling into waterways. The IOI conveys over 10 million gallons of water from Nogales, Sonora and Nogales, Arizona to the International Wastewater Treatment Plant in Rio Rico, Arizona.
“After years of neglecting much-needed repairs, the periodic leaks and overflows of the IOI continue to threaten the public health of Nogales and the surrounding areas,” said Rep. Grijalva. “This bill will address the aging infrastructure and safeguard the health and well-being of Nogales residents. After tirelessly working to secure funding for this project since 2003, I’m proud that Congress is finally taking the necessary steps to fix this urgent issue so that the people of Nogales need not worry about contaminants and pollutants in their water.”
In addition to the bill introduction, Rep. Grijalva submitted an amendment to the government funding bill that will direct $4,000,000 within the International Border and Water Commission to take responsibility for the maintenance of the International Outfall Interceptor (IOI). This is in addition to the funding that currently exists to repair the IOI.
“This amendment is another avenue to allocate critical resources to address the future maintenance of the IOI,” continued Rep. Grijalva. “No community should have to live under the constant threat of water contamination, and clarifying the responsibility of the IOI is an important step toward making this a reality.”
U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) introduced the companion legislation for the Nogales Wastewater Fairness Act in the U.S. Senate. Under a 1944 water utilization treaty between Mexico and the United States, Mexico is allowed to treat sewage in the United States. However, the responsibility of the treaty is with the U.S. section of the IBWC.
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