N4T Investigators: Trash building up along Santa Cruz river - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Trash building up along Santa Cruz river

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Tom Addison says he first saw the pile of trash while checking on his cattle near Tubac.

"Railroad ties, refrigerators, 55-gallon drums, sometimes there's cars in here," said Addison.

The here, Addison is talking about is the Santa Cruz river.

Addison says the trash first started building up last summer. Since then, the piles have grown so large, they've caused the river to split.

Leaving Addison and others with both health and environmental concerns.

"The water eventually goes down into the earth and people use it for their well systems, so who knows what all is in these jugs we have been picking up," said Addison.

News 4 Tucson Investigator Nick VinZant spoke with Santa Cruz County officials about what they are doing to stop the flow of trash.

Officials say that since most of it is flowing north from Mexico, there is little they can do.

"Generally speaking it is an international issue. A lot of the trash come in along the Nogales wash as the water comes out of Nogales, Sonora through the flood channels," said John Hays with the Santa Cruz County Flood Control District.

Hays say that local governments can do little because Arizona doesn't claim most waterways.

"There's not too much that we can do because unfortunately the vast majority of the areas where the trash piles up in on private property," said Hays.

Santa Cruz residents are doing something though.

Earlier this year more than 100 people showed up for a massive cleanup effort.

More than two tons of trash was removed, but Addison and others want the government to do more.

"It's something that needs to be addressed," said Addison.

Santa Cruz officials say there are considering putting in a collection system at the Arizona-Mexico border.

Such a system could cost as much as $25 million.

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