Representative from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are on site at this time to assist in the development of a plan to divert the flow of water in the area of the partial breach of the International Outfall Interceptor (IOI).
Site surveys are being conducted along the IOI to assess any change to the current conditions of the wash after last night’s storms. It is asked that the public refrain from entering this area to allow agencies representatives to conduct their surveys and for the safety of the employees working in the area.
Additionally, officials are asking people to not operate drones in the areas crews are working.
Santa Cruz County anticipates receiving further results from water sample testing from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) later today. The initial ADEQ samples released yesterday found levels of E. coli bacteria that exceeded recommended levels, both below and above the partial breach.
In response to the initial test results, Santa Cruz County Health Services and the Arizona Department of Health Services is advising the public to stay out of the Nogales Wash and the Santa Cruz River. Even in the absence of untreated wastewater, stormflows are typically high in pollutants that can be harmful to human health such as bacteria and pathogens. Water near and downstream of the (IOI) partial breach is of particular concern and should be avoided.
Santa Cruz County Health Services is also recommending to those who own a private well within 100 ft. of the waterway to have their well tested for contamination.
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 recommend 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.
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. Be advised to enter the County Complex through the main doors in front of the building.
A hotline has been established for public and media inquiries between 7am and 7pm by calling 520-375-7784. Updates will also be posted on the County Facebook page, Santa Cruz County, Arizona and Twitter page @santacruzaz and the county website at www.santacruzcountyaz.gov
To learn more about groundwater contaminents,