Lawsuit alleges violations at Nogales wastewater treatment plant : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Lawsuit alleges violations at Nogales wastewater treatment plant

Associated Press Mar. 17, 2000 18:01

TUCSON - A public interest organization filed a lawsuit today alleging repeated pollution discharge violations at the Nogales International Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court here, alleges at least 152 violations of the plant's National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit over the past five years.

The International Boundary and Water Commission and the city of Nogales operate the plant together.

The suit was filed by the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest on behalf of a Nogales resident and the Sierra Club, an environmental organization. It contends cracks in pipes cause untreated wastewater being carried to the plant to flow into the Nogales Wash.

The center also contends the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has failed to uphold a nondiscretionary duty to enforce violations at the plant in the last three years.

The suit names the EPA, the city of Nogales and the U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission as defendants.

Matthew McGuire, Nogales' acting city attorney, said the city had not been served with the suit Friday. Similarly, Sally Spener, a spokeswoman with the IBWC, headquartered in El Paso, Texas, said her agency had not received notice of a lawsuit being filed.

A call to the EPA regional office in San Francisco was not returned immediately.

The center said that pollution has troubled the Nogales Wash and the Santa Cruz River in the past, with chemical tests of waters in the wash having found hepatitis and cholera.

The center sent the defendants a 60 days' notice letter prior to the suit, but said that it appeared there were no attempts to halt the violations during that period.

The suit asked the EPA and the IBWC to give money to Nogales to make the plant repairs needed to stop the violations.

-- Martin Thompson (, March 19, 2000

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