IOI leak (copy)

Sewage from the International Outfall Interceptor bubbles up into Potrero Creek near Old Tucson Road on Tuesday afternoon, July 25, as the result of a break at Manhole 89.

A contractor was set to begin emergency repairs Monday to a manhole where wastewater began escaping from a broken cross-border sewer line north of Nogales city limits in July.

Jose Nuñez, an engineer with the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) told attendees at a meeting in Tubac last month that the repair work at Manhole 89 would start Oct. 2 and be completed by the end of the month, though he added that the construction schedule would depend on obtaining the right-of-way from Union Pacific railroad. On Friday, the IBWC said in a news release that contractor KE&G Construction of Tucson would begin the repairs Oct. 9.

The company’s $1.65-million contract with the IBWC includes building a diversion of Potrero Creek around the repair area, installing shoring along the bank for bank protection and replacing the damaged manhole and pipeline, the agency said.

Construction was expected to be completed within three weeks.

A break was discovered in the International Outfall Interceptor, which carries approximately 10-14 million gallons of wastewater from Nogales, Sonora and Nogales, Ariz. to a treatment plant about nine miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border each day, on July 25 after heavy monsoon rains the previous weekend.

A temporary bypass system has been in place since Aug. 2 and will remain operational until the repairs are complete, the IBWC said.

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