Sinema Hosts Roundtable Discussion with U.S. Boundary & Water Commissioner and Santa Cruz County Leaders

Oct 23, 2021

NOGALES – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema hosted a roundtable discussion with the U.S. Commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission and local leaders to discuss the Nogales International Outfall Interceptor project.
“Today’s roundtable brought key stakeholders together to identify ways to effectively resolve this ongoing sewage issue, and we’ll continue working on behalf of the City of Nogales to improve water quality, manage the sewage flow, and keep communities healthy and safe,” said Sinema.
The Nogales International Outfall Interceptor is an 8.5-mile pipeline that travels from the U.S. Mexico Border to the Nogales International Wastewater Treatment Plant in Rio Rico, Arizona. The pipeline began operating in 1972, and has eroded and developed many cracks, causing raw sewage to flow into nearby washes and rivers, the streets of Nogales, and the DeConcini Port of Entry. Leaks from the pipe also increase the contamination risk for nearby groundwater sources, leaving local communities experiencing untreated wastewater coming from Mexico into Arizona rivers and overflowing into streets during storms, backing up the pipe, and leaving Arizonans in Nogales bearing the cost.
Following the late Senator John McCain’s leadership, Sinema helped introduce the Nogales Wastewater Fairness Act last Congress to ensure the City of Nogales only pays for its portion of operation and maintenance, instead of continuing to cover all costs. After the introduction of Sinema’s legislation, the Nogales Wastewater Settlement was reached. Sinema later helped secure $49 million to help fund the International Boundary Water Commission to ensure the needed repairs could be made to help protect the health and safety of Nogales families.
Sinema’s Senate-passed bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act invests $8.3 billion in building and strengthening water infrastructure throughout the American West, including for aging infrastructure, water storage and conveyance, water recycling and reuse, desalination, drought contingency plans, and dam safety.
Roundtable participants included U.S. International Boundary and Water Commissioner Dr. Maria Elena Griner, Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino, Santa Cruz County Supervisor Bruce Bracker, Fresh Produce Association President Luis Ramirez, Nogales Port Authority President Jaime Chamberlin, Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke, and a representative from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.