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 shares the concerns of livestock owners and farmers in the region. Until there is more information about the extent of the situation, it is recommended not using water from the Santa Cruz River to water food crops or gardens. Livestock should not be in the river or drinking from it.
Officials ask that the public and media refrain from entering into areas where repair work is underway for the safety of the public and employees working in the area. Drivers should be especially careful in areas where repair crews are working near roadways.
As a reminder, the Nogales International Airport has restricted the use of drones within one nautical mile around the crew worksites.
Santa Cruz County officials will be holding a press conference at 5:00 pm in Courtroom A on the second floor of the Santa Cruz County Complex located at 2150 N. Congress Dr. Nogales AZ 85621.
A hotline (520-375-7784) is available for public and media inquiries between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday.
Updates will be posted on the Santa Cruz County Facebook and Twitter @santacruzaz. Public Health and Safety information is also available at santacruzcountyaz.gov and ein.az.gov.