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Rio Grande/Río Bravo Pollution Study Released

Release Date: 6/30/2004
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

      Today the United States and Mexico announced the publication of the final phase of a multi-year binational study on toxic substances along the international boundary portion of the  Rio Grande/Río Bravo, which concludes that chemicals found in the river's water, sediment, and fish do not pose an immediate threat to human or aquatic life.  

      "This is an important step in evaluating the health of the river and its impact on human health and the environment," U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said.  "This crucial determination allows us to refocus our efforts on other aspects of river communities' health."

      Funded by the EPA and Mexico's national water agency, Comisión Nacional del Agua (CNA), the study was coordinated by the U.S. and Mexican sections of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC).  The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and CNA conducted this multi-year project.  

      U.S. IBWC Commissioner Arturo Q. Duran and Mexican Commissioner J. Arturo Herrera added that the United States and Mexican sections of the IBWC were pleased to coordinate this important binational study.  The two countries have demonstrated great cooperation in the collection and reporting of water quality data, which will be used by decision makers and stakeholders on both sides of the border to improve water quality in the Rio Grande/Río Bravo.

      The study completes a series of three binational studies of pollution and includes special emphasis on biological community assessments of aquatic organisms.  It considered factors such as habitat alteration, land use, water/sediment quality and flow variations.  The results indicate that some metals in sediment, chlorides, sulfates, and dissolved solids are aspects of concern, but they do not present immediate risks to human health and aquatic life in the reach of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo studied.   The concentrations and types of pollutants found are consistent with the population, land use and industrial activities along the border.  Additional studies are recommended.

      An electronic copy of the report is available on the Internet at  To request a hard copy of the report in English, contact Daniel Borunda at (915) 832-4701.  The report in Spanish may be requested from Engineer, Ramiro Luján G. of the Mexican Section of IBWC at (656) 613-9942 or via the Internet at