Rio Grande water quality still suffers despite international efforts

By on November 8, 2013

The Rio Grande along the U.S.-Mexico border (Credit: Geoff Gallice, via Wikimedia Commons)


Joint efforts between Mexico and the United States have largely failed to improve the water quality of the Rio Grande, NPR reported on All Things Considered.

Since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, the U.S. and Mexico have worked to clean the waterway that separates the two countries. However, sewage and animal carcasses can still be seen floating among the river’s currents.

The high levels of pollution have contributed to an overwhelming presence of E. coli, according to Tom Vaughan, a biology teacher at Texas A&M International University. The EPA is unable to address the issue because the raw sewage flows from the Mexican municipality of Nuevo Laredo.

The introduction of a $60 million international wastewater treatment plant in the 1990s has helped to some extent, but around 5 million gallons of sewage still enter the water each day.

Image: The Rio Grande along the U.S.-Mexico border (Credit: Geoff Gallice, via Wikimedia Commons)

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