Kelly, Sinema, Grijalva Announce Nogales Wastewater Improvement Act of 2023 Secured in NDAA Conference Report

Today, Arizona Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema and Representative Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07) announced the Nogales Wastewater Improvement Act of 2023 was included in the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report.   

The Nogales Wastewater Improvement Act language authorizes the transfer of ownership of the International Outfall Interceptor (IOI) to the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) for much-needed infrastructure repairs, future operations and maintenance when funds are appropriated.    

“After decades of failure by the federal government, Nogales residents finally have a solution that fixes hazards created by failing wastewater infrastructure,” said Kelly. “This permanent solution will eliminate public health risks, combat drug trafficking, and improve border security.”  

“After decades of stalled progress, I’m proud to secure this historic agreement delivering a permanent solution to the Nogales International Outfall Interceptor dilemma that provides overdue relief to Nogales families’ health and safety. This is the kind of real results we can deliver to Arizona communities when we reject partisanship and focus on solving challenges and helping Arizonans build better lives,” said Sinema.  

“It has been a painstaking process, but now we can start taking the steps necessary to end the failure and neglect of this pipeline that created a persistent public health threat of sewage leaks in Nogales, Arizona. Every community deserves a clean, healthy environment in which to raise their kids and live their lives free of toxic waste,” said Grijalva. “I am confident in IBWC’s leadership and firm ability to properly manage the pipeline and am proud to have worked with them, City of Nogales, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, Senators Sinema and Kelly and other federal officials to secure this language in the NDAA.”  


The Nogales Wastewater Improvement Actis critical to prevent raw sewage from spilling into Nogales’ waterways and to ensure Nogales is not burdened with a disproportionate share of responsibility for an international pipeline. The IOI conveys over 10 million gallons of water originating from both Nogales, Sonora and Nogales, Arizona to the International Wastewater Treatment Plant in Rio Rico, Arizona. The treated effluent is a valuable source of water for the preservation of an important river habitat and as a source of groundwater for downstream users. 

The agreed upon text of the NDAA conference report must receive votes in the House and Senate before being signed into law by President Biden.  

The Nogales Wastewater Improvement Act was led by Arizona Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema and Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07) and Juan Ciscomani (AZ-06).