In cooperation with Santa Cruz County and the Arizona Department of Health Services, Pinal County Officials have issued a warning to those individuals living near the Santa Cruz River to beware of E. coli bacteria that could be in the water. Arizona Department of Environmental Quality have found that samples taken near the partial breach of an untreated sewage line in Nogales, Arizona, contain levels of E. coli bacteria that exceed recommended levels. The partial breach was detected on July 25, 2017 and the flow runs into the Santa Cruz River.
This warning is especially targeted to ranchers and farmers who may use the water in the river to water their cattle or their crops. 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. Further sampling is being conducted with results still pending.
The Arizona Department of Health Services is advising the public to stay out of the Santa Cruz River. Even in the absence of untreated sewage, stormflows are typically high in pollutants that can be harmful to human health such as bacteria and pathogens.
Pinal County will release more information about the potential for contamination when it becomes available.