Cochise Health & Social Services will host a free children’s immunization clinic in response to the HAZMAT situation in Naco.
The County has continued to monitor the daily flow of raw sewage coming across the international border onto U.S. soil from Naco, Sonora, since a spill caused by failed infrastructure in Mexico on September 9.
In addition to an initial emergency response to prevent the flow of HAZMAT into a residential neighborhood and school, the County has provided a public health service in the form of vaccinations against Hepatitis A and B, and Tetanus.
The children’s clinic will be held on Friday, October 12, at the Naco Elementary School multi-purpose room, located at 1911 W. Valenzuela St., between noon and 5 p.m. This follows an adult clinic last month.
During the last 24 hours there are signs the west flow has stopped. This is believed to be the result of pipe cleaning and lagoon drainage work carried out by authorities in Sonora, Mexico.
However, the County will continue to monitor the situation and provide any necessary emergency or public health response.
The County has recently received the results of surface and well water tests collected by state-certified employees of its health department, and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.
Those results reveal the flow to the west into Greenbush Draw contained a significantly high level of E. coli. Current levels are approximately five times the allowable limit.
“We have been testing because we don’t know what’s in the water since it’s coming from another country,” explained Cochise Health & Social Services Director Carrie Langley. “We saw a tremendously high level of E. coli, which was not unexpected.”
Residents are advised to continue to avoid the flow areas and any standing pools of water.
The water flows were also tested for metals and volatile organic compounds. Results showed negative values, with the exception of lead, which exceeded the partial body contact standard of 0.015 milligrams per liter. The west flow location sample results indicated 0.052 milligrams per liter, and samples taken at the Greene Street wash, east of the school where the initial flow occurred, indicated 0.027 milligrams per liter.
Three private wells along the west flow were tested for bacteria and heavy metals and were found to be within acceptable drinking water levels.
Arizona Water Company and Southwest Utility Company, which supply water to Bisbee and Naco respectively, have been carrying out regular tests. These companies should be contacted directly for test results.
The County will pursue additional testing in different areas impacted by the flow.
“We are looking at a longer-term strategy to fully understand the environmental and health impacts,” said Langley.