Arizona governor, NADB celebrate start of border wastewater projects

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano was on hand to witness the signing of agreements to initiate $8 million worth of new wastewater projects in the Arizona-Sonora border region.


Tucson, AZ, June 9, 2003 -- Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano was on hand to witness the signing of agreements to initiate $8 million worth of new wastewater projects in the Arizona-Sonora border region.

The projects are located in the communities of Patagonia and Gadsden, both near the Arizona border with Mexico, and will be partially financed by the North American Development Bank (NADB).

A total of $2.8 million is being provided through the NADB's Border Environment Infrastructure Fund (BEIF). The BEIF is a grant program funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that provides grant monies to help make water and wastewater projects more affordable for local communities along the U.S.-Mexico border. Border communities have historically lacked the resources to develop adequate infrastructure.

"These are critical funds towards the infrastructure needs of these border communities, improving their health, safety and environmental conditions," said Napolitano at the signing ceremony held this morning prior to the start of the Arizona-Mexico Commission Plenary Session. "I am pleased to see that these projects will soon be underway."

Gadsden will start construction of the second phase of a community-wide wastewater collection system, including the construction of sewer laterals to connect residents to the new wastewater system. The existing on-site systems are generally old and have not been adequately maintained, posing potential environmental and health threats. One hundred eighty-six residences are to be connected to the new system.

In Patagonia, a new 11,000 gallon-per-day wastewater treatment plant will be constructed in the first phase of the project, to be followed by a second phase of improvements to the wastewater collection system. The new treatment plant and the improvements to the sewer system will help ensure a high quality of effluent and reduce the risk of wastewater discharge due to leaks in the collection system. Approximately 406 residences in Patagonia will benefit from the project.

In addition to the NADB funding, the projects are receiving financial support from the State of Arizona's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the Arizona Water and Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA-RD).

"We are pleased to be involved in these projects to improve the quality of life of Arizona residents" said Raul Rodriguez, NADB Managing Director. "The involvement and support of the various state and federal agencies in these projects exemplifies the success that can be had through strong coordination."

Through its BEIF program, the NADB has approved more than US$433 million in EPA-funded grants to support the construction of environmental infrastructure in various communities, which will benefit residents on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Since its inception in 1995, the NADB has approved more than US$494 million in loans and grants for 57 infrastructure projects in the region.

The North American Development Bank, created under the auspices of NAFTA, is a financial institution established and capitalized in equal parts by the United States and Mexico for the purpose of financing environmental infrastructure projects along their common border. As a pioneer institution in its field, the Bank is working to develop integrated, sustainable and fiscally responsible projects with broad community support in a framework of close cooperation and coordination between Mexico and the United States.

For more information on the NADB, visit www.nadb.org.

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