Stinky situation: Raw sewage from Mexico flows into Arizona
BISBEE, Ariz. - When talking about the U.S. - Mexico border, national security, illegal immigration or drug smuggling usually come to mind, not raw sewage. But that's the stink happening near Bisbee.
For months, a broken down Mexican sewage treatment plant has been dumping raw sewage into a wash that flows into Arizona. It's a smelly situation that could get serious if the area's water supply is threatened.
"Here we are, three months into the deal and no one's done a thing about stopping it," said John Ladd.
His family's ranch, The San Jose, shares more than 10 miles of land with the U.S. - Mexico border. Most of that border is protected by a fence to keep illegal aliens and drug smugglers out.
"The big thing is when Trump got elected, just his rhetoric.. just the illegals coming.. pretty well stopped here on the ranch because the threat of them going to jail if they got caught," said Ladd.
But so far, no one has stopped this: raw sewage flowing from a Mexican water treatment plant in nearby Naco, Sonora. Until someone invents "smell-a-vision" you're going to have to take our word for it. This really stinks.
"Mexico doesn't spend a lot of money on it, Naco is broke so there is raw sewage flowing into the U.S.," he said.
In this part of Arizona, water flows south to north. So does this sewage. Right into Ladd's ranch and dangerously close to the only water supply for homes in the area.
"It comes in right on the west side of Naco, Arizona from Naco, Sonora, runs down a draw right to the water wells for Bisbee," he said.
And it's been flowing for months now.
"It's been happening since June."
The Border Patrol keeps an eye on it, but "that isn't the Border Patrol's problem.. they've talked to the State Department and everyone else," said Ladd.
One agency no one apparently talked to was Arizona's Department of Environmental Quality, our state's agency responsible for keeping the environment clean. They didn't know about the problem until we told them about it. But after investigating, they told FOX 10, "ADEQ is pleased to report that the agencies with authority are making progress toward both short- and long-term solutions."
Ladd doesn't think anyone cares. He says this remote part of Arizona is used to being ignored.
"If it happened in Scottsdale, what do you think would happen?"
In the meantime, the sewage keeps flowing. The smell keeps smelling. A real stink for those who have to live with the stench.
"It's raw sewage, I've got a problem with that," said Ladd.
FOX 10 reached out to the U.S. State Department, which told us it regularly engages the Mexican government on environmental issues, like raw sewage releases, but it had no time table to solve this particular problem.