Cochise County town hall on sewage overflow from Mexico

Sewage from Mexico flowing into neighborhoods in Naco. (Source: Tucson News Now)
Sewage from Mexico flowing into neighborhoods in Naco. (Source: Tucson News Now)
Updated: Sep. 21, 2018 at 8:54 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Cochise County officials held a town hall in Naco Friday night to address concerns regarding the flow of raw sewage from Mexico.

Two leaks in the sewage pipe in Sonora, Mexico have sent raw sewage flowing into Naco since September 9.

The first leak is no longer causing problems but a second leak continues to flow between 288,000 and 432,000 gallons of sewage into Naco everyday.

Officials reassured the community that drinking water is safe and the sewage has been redirected from the homes that are close to the flow.

“It’s a very small community and we’re just all very concerned about it," Lupe Romero said.

Lupe Romero has lived in Naco her entire life. She said she’s never seen a situation quite this bad.

“What is going to be done about it? That’s what concerning to me," she said.

She lives a couple of streets down from the first sewage leak.

Romero was one of dozens of who came to the town hall to get their questions answered. Some were simply fed up with short term solutions to a problem that has plagued their community for years.

One man asked “how many gallons are crossing over everyday? Are you going to tell me they’re going to fix it in a month? Two months? Two years? Are we supposed to divert it for two years?”

For now, Cochise County officials say they’ve diverted the flow away from homes and are treating the water at a price tag of $33,000.

They said it’s really the best they can do for now.

“We realize how frustrating it is for the local people, we genuinely do. However, we don’t have the authority or jurisdiction to travel over to the border, to do some of the long term fixes people are asking for. We just simply don’t have the resources either," said Amanda Baillie, spokeswoman for Cochise County.

The county is working with state and federal agencies towards a long term fix.

Repairs to the pipes in Mexico are expected to happen within the next eight weeks.

Cochise county Health and Social Services will be holding the immunization clinic for adults on Friday, September 28 from 10 am to 2 pm and 4 pm to 8 pm.

Hepatitis A/B shots and Tetanus shots will be available.

There will be one for kids the following week.

The county will also be setting up a bilingual hotline next week so people can call with any kind of concerns.

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