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EMS Development at Nogales International Wastewater Treatment Plant: Managing Environmental Aspects Beyond Borders

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The International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) is responsible for applying the boundary and water treaties between the United States and Mexico. The United States Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) operates the Nogales International Wastewater Treatment Plant (NIWTP) that provides secondary treatment for wastewater generated in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora (Mexico). Located 9 miles north of the international border, the NIWTP faces increasing challenges in managing the plant due to the rapid industrial, economic, and demographic growth along the border that places a significant impact on the region's environment. These responsibilities have earned the IBWC international recognition as a leader in managing transboundary waters and as a model of effective international cooperation.

In its efforts to develop an environmental management system (EMS) to meet the requirements of the United States' federal government's Executive Order 13148 and the International Organization for Standardization EMS standard ISO 14001:2004 (ISO 14001), the NIWTP identified its significant environmental aspects that must be managed through effective transboundary water management programs. The NIWTP established objectives and targets to minimize its environmental impact and developed environmental management programs to increase international cooperation, education, and communication between the sister cities. As a result, the EMS development is a unique approach in managing significant aspects that the NIWTP has no direct control over and is a model for working with entities across the border region to find solutions to transboundary environmental problems.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-01-01

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