A town hall hosted by Cochise County Health & Social Services will be held in Naco on Friday to answer local residents’ questions about the ongoing HAZMAT situation.
Raw sewage from Naco, Sonora, has been flowing across the border since September 9, and while there is no immediate threat to public health anyone with concerns is encouraged to attend.
The public meeting will be held at the Naco Elementary School, 1911 W. Valenzuela Street, at 6 p.m., and a Spanish interpreter will be available for non-English speaking attendees. The meeting will take place in the cafeteria.
“Our number one priority is public safety and keeping the residents of Naco informed,” said Cochise Health & Services Director Carrie Langley. “During the town hall we will talk about the risks posed by exposure to sewage, and the precautions people can take. We want to be as proactive as possible.”
Information will also be distributed about a mobile immunization clinic, which will be made available on Friday, September 28, at the Naco Fire Station, 2019 W. Martinez St., between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“The clinic is being offered as a public service,” said Langley, who added the University of Arizona will also be providing informational public health flyers. “We have no reported cases of illnesses related to this HAZMAT situation. However, we continue to ask people to avoid the spill area and any standing water.”
Cochise County is continuing to monitor the HAZMAT flow – currently estimated at between 288,000 and 432,000 gallons per day – and treat it with chlorine.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Health (ADEQ) was due to visit the flow site today to test the sewage and the soil. ADEQ is also considering short-term solutions to clean up the HAZMAT and prevent the flow spreading.
Assistance is also being provided by the Arizona Department of Health Services and Pima County, and the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs is reaching out to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City in an effort to engage with the Mexican government to help resolve the issue.
The County has also continued to engage with the offices of Governor Doug Ducey and Congresswoman Martha McSally to keep them informed and to request assistance.
While the County does not have the authority or resources to resolve this international border issue, it will continue to monitor the situation and respond to any future emergency situations.
Repairs to the sewage pipes in Naco, Sonora, are expected to take place within the next eight weeks.