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Tin Town Arizona Residents Celebrate Earth Day by Trading Cesspools for a Safe Water System

The Bisbee, Arizona Fire Station #81 was brimming with “officials”—the mayor, city council members, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ staff representative, and the acting state director for USDA Rural Development—but the attention was all on the rest of the crowd. Most of the residents of Tin Town, a small Colonia within Bisbee, Arizona, were sitting in the audience among the officials and they rocked!

Tin Town residents had been waiting a long time for this day. USDA Rural Development (RD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are jointly funding a $1.4 million wastewater collection system to connect the people of Tin Town to the Bisbee wastewater facility. Currently, the residents rely on failing septic systems and cesspools, a health risk for the residents and the environment they share with the rest of the area.

The meandering street through a portion of Tin Town, Arizona.  Thanks to USDA and EPA the residents will soon have safe water.

The meandering street through a portion of Tin Town, Arizona. Thanks to USDA and EPA the residents will soon have safe water.

Tin Town was settled in the 1920s by Mexican immigrants who came to work in the mines near Bisbee. Some say the town got its name from the scrap metal and tin the residents used to build and roof their homes. Others say it’s from the tin cans they used to catch the drips from leaking roofs. At any rate, it grew into a strong, stable neighborhood of hard working families.

Many of the homes in Tin Town are painted many bright colors.

Many of the homes in Tin Town are painted many bright colors.

Most of the rest of the areas of Bisbee have been connected to the modern wastewater plant, but the residents of Tin Town have had to continue to deal with the failing septic and cesspool problems. That will change now thanks to the collaborative efforts of USDA RD and EPA, and a community full of advocates!

Tin Town is a community with character and full of characters. Its citizens have been good neighbors and good stewards…and soon they will have a safer, more sanitary town for the next generations.

To find out more about how USDA Rural Development can help improve a water system in your community click here.

Bisbee Mayor, Council Members and staff are joined by Acting State Director Ernie Wetherbee (second from left) at the Earth Day announcement in Tin Town, Arizona.

Bisbee Mayor, Council Members and staff are joined by Acting State Director Ernie Wetherbee (second from left) at the Earth Day announcement in Tin Town, Arizona.

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