Letter to Alexis Strauss, Acting Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency - U.S. Representative Martha McSally & Senators McCain, Flake Call on Government Agencies to Resolve Sewage Spill in Naco, Arizona


Date: Sept. 21, 2017
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Environment

Dear Acting Regional Administrator Strauss,

We write to address reports that the cities of Naco, Arizona and Bisbee, Arizona have been subject to years of unmitigated raw sewage flowing from Naco, Sonora, Mexico, an issue that is yet to be resolved. This flow of sewage poses a health, safety, and economic risk to Arizona's vulnerable border towns, and we are greatly concerned about the lack of response of the federal agencies tasked with the oversight of this issue.

We believe that this uncontrolled effluent is positioned to contaminate the agriculture, livestock, and drinking water supply of these communities. We seek more information about the situation in question and what the EPA has done to address the environmental impact of this spill. Please answer the following questions:

What responsibility does the EPA have in the monitoring and mitigation of such spills?
How long has the EPA been aware of the effluent spill in Naco, Arizona and Bisbee, Arizona? What steps have been taken by the EPA to resolve this issue in the many years that the spill has breached Arizona's borders?
What steps has the EPA been taken to assist the community in their rehabilitation of the impacted areas?
Has the EPA worked with other relevant agencies or conducted internal investigations to study the public health, safety, and economic implications of this spill?

Arizona's border communities are uniquely situated to rely on organizations, like yours, to coordinate even their most essential functions, such as sanitation or flood mitigation. The economic impact of slow-moving bureaucracy can not only be damaging, but devastating, to our constituents. Between the flooded farms of Naco, Arizona and the broken pipeline in Nogales, Arizona, it is clear to us that coordination and communication between federal organizations and the communities they serve must be improved. We look forward to reviewing your answers and working towards a solution for all parties involved.


John McCain
United States Senator

Jeff Flake
United States Senator

Martha McSally
United States Representative