Letter to Ed Drusina, Commissioner of the International Boundary Water Commission - 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 Commissioner Drusina,

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.

Given the International Boundary and Water Commission's (IBWC) responsibility to monitor and coordinate such international projects, we seek more information about the Commission's history with this issue and what responsibility they hold for this incident. Please answer the following questions:

1. What mandate does the IBWC have in the management of sewage lines like the one that is currently overflowing into Arizona communities?

2. How long has the IBWC been aware of this spill?

3. With what frequency does the IBWC monitor the status and maintenance of this sewage line, and have measures been taken in the past to prevent such spills?

4. What steps have been taken to assist the community in their rehabilitation of the impacted areas?

5. Has the IBWC worked with other relevant agencies or conducted internal investigations to study the public health, safety, and economic implications of this spill?

6. What measures can the IBWC take in the immediate future to mitigate impact on these communities, and what must be done to ensure that this does not happen in the future?

Arizona's border communities are uniquely situated to rely on international 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 the IBWC and the communities it serves 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