The Main Stream

Aug 24, 2012 10:50 PM

Crews in Nogales work to clean up a hot, stinky mess

NOGALES, Ariz. - A major clean-up effort is underway in Nogales, Arizona after sewage started flowing into the U.S. from Mexico.

Monsoon storms filled the Nogales wash south of the border, and the flow broke the 24-inch pipe, which caused the raw sewage to flow into the wash on the U.S. side. The water and raw sewage is now being treated with chlorine.

The Nogales Wash runs through downtown Nogales, Arizona, and for the past week it's been smelling bad. Chlorine tablets are being used to sanitize the raw sewage. It's supposed to help, but Jesus Feliz, a longtime resident says, "It just makes it a little more worse that you can't even stand the smell at night."
Felix says it's been that way for about a week. officials say that's due to a break in a sewer line in Mexico.

Carlos Pena, an engineer with the International Boundary and Water Commission, says, "The rains came last week - four and five inches last Thursday and Friday - it undermined the pipe and ruptured."

The Nogales Wash isn't the only place where raw sewage is flowing. The Tricky Wash, located at the end of Escalada Dr., is also having issues. Officials say the sewers in Mexico filled up with debris from the recent rains and overflowed sewage into the wash causing problems. Pena says, "Any time you have sewage and water coming in contact, it's always a health hazard."

Crews on the US side were diverting the sewage from the wash into manholes. Chlorine tablets were also placed against the border fence. On the other side, crews in Mexico were diligently working to clean up the sewage.

Antonia Meza Sanchez lives on the U.S. side; she says the sooner the better, regarding repairs. The elderly woman suffers from asthma and is having problems breathing. She says the odor make her sick to her stomach.

Officials say they're working hard to contain the sewage and they hope it will all be taken care of in a few days.

In the meantime, they are urging people to stay out of the washes.

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