The Main Stream

May 8, 2013 8:49 PM by Lorraine Rivera

Nogales hopes for wash repair

NOGALES - Arturo Garino, the Mayor of Nogales, Arizona says he's hoping a letter from Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake will urge the federal government to fix the Nogales Wash.

The letter was sent to Secretary of State John Kerry.

Garino says during his administration the wash has been compromised twice. According to Garino, the pipeline under the Nogales wash is narrow and becomes compromised shifting the concrete slabs that line the wash. "My concern is that if the line was to break in the wash when would we know about it? When the water recedes. By then this flow is already past Tubac, Rio Rico, and up to Tucson."

The pipeline transports an estimated 10 million gallons of raw sewage from Nogales, Sonora to a treatment facility in Rio Rico. The pipeline is known as the International Outfall Interceptor.

Garino said the International Boundary and Water Commission has said repairing the wash would cost at least $30 million, he says that's money neither side of the border has.

Jose Renteria has owned and operated Karim's Salon & Day Spa for 18 years in Nogales, his shop sits just a few feet away from the wash. "When the water comes out of the canal it floods the whole street, there's nothing we can do so the cars cannot get in and so many problems," Reneteria explained. He also said it's a quality of life issue, "the smell sometimes it's so bad in the afternoon that we have a cooler so you know it comes through inside and that's a real problem."

Garino says even if the federal government orchestrates a repair on the system it would take between one and two years, "if we were to repair and take care of this line we wouldn't have this issue for another hundred years," he said.

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