The city is one of the biggest ports of entry for Mexican fruit and vegetables entering the U.S., but local media had raised concerns that work repairing a cross-border sewage leak could hamper the sector.
A dispute over who was responsible for the repairs caused delays and sent thousands of gallons of raw sewage from Mexico into a wash in Southern Arizona, contaminating water sources and prompting the state’s attention in July, Arizona Public Media reported.
However, a representative of Nogales-based Fresh Produce Association of the Americas (FPAA) said any impact on produce deliveries would be temporary and very limited.
“The International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) is beginning the final phases of repair to the International Outflow Interceptor (IOI), a pipeline that runs north through Santa Cruz County under and along the Nogales Wash,” FPAA president Lance Jungmeyer said in a statement sent to Fresh Fruit Portal.
“The repair of the pipe should pose no impact on the local industry, and businesses will be operating as normal while repairs are completed.”
He said the IOI was damaged in July when a large rainstorm in the area eroded a portion of the wash and exposed the pipeline.
“At that time, local, State, and Federal officials acted quickly to build a temporary bypass in the pipeline that contained the outflow from the pipe and allow crews access to the existing pipeline to complete repairs,” Jungmeyer said.
“The IBWC will complete this infrastructure repair project in the coming weeks, and the area should anticipate minimal impacts to transportation logistics in this portion of the roadway. As with any infrastructure repair or improvement project, this will require some minor adjustments in traffic flow while the work is completed.
“Due to the location of the repair area near the north end of Old Tucson Road and the presence of large, heavy equipment moving in the area, that end of the roadway will need to be closed while repairs are finalized.”
He added that businesses and residents that use this entrance to Old Tucson Road will be detouring to the south entrance of the roadway off Grand Avenue while the infrastructure improvements are finalized.
“This should represent negligible changes in travel time for trucks entering and exiting the commercial areas on Old Tucson Road. However, companies are encouraged to inform drivers and transportation companies of the detour to avoid confusion,” he said.