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Arizona senators: Border sewage pipeline at risk

Sen. John McCain, second from left, R-Ariz., speaks with reporters following a tour of the border area of Southern Arizona, outside an Arizona Department Public Safety hanger in Tucson, Ariz., Thursday, March 24, 2011. With McCain are Reps. David Schweikert, left, R-Ariz., Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Ben Quayle, right, R-Ariz. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Sanders)

NOGALES, Ariz. — Arizona’s senators are warning the State Department about risks posed by the deterioration of a pipeline that carries more than 10 million gallons of raw sewage daily from Mexico into the U.S. for treatment.

The International Outfall Interceptor pipeline runs from Nogales, Sonora, to Nogales, Ariz.

Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake said in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry that severe flooding, a high volume of sewage and blockages caused by drug smugglers have damaged the Nogales Wash and the pipeline is compromised.

The senators warn that if the wash and pipeline fail, the region could be affected by water contamination.

Congress has appropriated funds to fix the pipeline, but the International Boundary and Water Commission contends the city of Nogales must pay half.

McCain and Flake are raising questions about the commission’s cost-share policy.

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