Press Release

Rep. Cuellar Provides Updates on Border Water Infrastructure Projects

Ongoing Projects Support Clean Drinking Water and Sanitation in Laredo and Nuevo Laredo

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Washington, January 29, 2018 | Olya Voytovich (202-226-1583) | comments

Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) announced updates on border water infrastructure projects after a meeting last month in Nuevo Laredo between the U.S. and Mexican sections of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC), the North American Development Bank (NADB) and other stakeholders.

The meeting centered on ongoing discussions related to the untreated sewage discharges entering the Rio Grande within the limits of Nuevo Laredo, and the infrastructure repairs undertaken to address the issue. Congressman Cuellar has worked to address this problem since his time in the Texas State Legislature, where he secured funding for projects to mitigate the impacts of sewage discharge, which affects the drinking water and sanitation in Laredo and Nuevo Laredo.

Earlier this year, Congressman Cuellar introduced the North American Development Bank Improvement and General Capital Increase Authorization Act of 2017 to provide NADB with the necessary funds to invest in clean drinking water, sewage treatment and other essential projects on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Congressman Cuellar has also secured millions in funding for the United States-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Program, providing grant assistance to underserved communities along the border. This funding will be used specifically to plan, design and construct infrastructure that will provide safe drinking water and adequate sanitation to this region.

Currently, the sewer system in Nuevo Laredo does not have sufficient capacity to support the level of wastewater flows, so small quantities of untreated waste water get leaked into the Rio Grande. NADB and the Nuevo Laredo Municipal Potable Water and Sewerage Commission (COMAPA) are working on multiple projects to address this issue, such as improvements to the wastewater collection and treatment system in Nuevo Laredo, and disconnecting the sewer system from the storm water system at multiple locations to reduce and eliminate discharge.

“Clean drinking water, sewage and waste treatment are some basic examples of the kinds of projects that we cannot afford to under-fund,” said Congressman Cuellar. “They don’t just keep our communities clean – they also keep us safe from illness and disease. I am pleased to hear that steps are being taken to address this issue that will improve the wellbeing of those living in the Laredo-Nuevo Laredo region."

Current agreements between stakeholders to address the issue include:

  • COMAPA will eliminate the La Joya discharge with its own funds no later than February 2018;
  • COMAPA will decrease discharges in the American Collector by 30 to 40% by sectioning reaches of the Riva Palacio Collector;
  • COMAPA will undertake works to eliminate the discharge in the Arroyo Las Alazanas with funding from Nuevo Laredo, budgeted for FY18, which will be completed in the same year;
  • COMAPA will seek funding from NADB to eliminate the discharges in the Arroyo Coyote basin;
  • COMAPA will send the Consulate General of the U.S. in Nuevo Laredo the executive project to eliminate the untreated discharges into the Rio Grande and its tributaries; and
  • Regular meetings will be held in order to track the work being done to eliminate the discharges of untreated sewage into the Rio Grande.
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