IMPERIAL COUNTY — County of Imperial officials were notified by the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) that Mexicali has issued a verbal notification that it plans to bypass untreated wastewater into the New River Friday, September 18, from 6:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. The estimated volume is 4,131m3. The reason provided for the need to bypass the untreated wastewater is rehabilitation work that is being performed on pumping plant number two in Mexicali. The Comisión Estatal de Servicios Públicos de Mexicali (State Commission for Public Services, CESPM in Spanish) reported all alternative options were considered before making the decision and that a bypass into the New River is unavoidable at this time. This is the second time this year, that a major bypass of untreated sewage has occurred due to infrastructure problems, according to the press release. The last one was reported June 10 of this year.
Aside from environmental impacts, the bypass of untreated sewage into the New River poses a threat to anyone who could potentially come in contact with the New River and personnel that work in the area.
Dr. Stephen Munday, County Health Officer stated, “We want to remind the public that the New River is not an area that should be used for recreational activities such as swimming due to the quality of the water.”
The public is asked to take the following precautions to avoid contact with water from the New River:
- Avoid swimming or drinking water from the New River;
- Avoid contact with the foam generated by the New River;
- Do not allow your pets to bathe in the New River; and
- Avoid handling or collecting and eating fish, turtles, or frogs from the New River.
For more information, please visit the Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Control Board’s website at http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/coloradoriver/.