The County was notified of the release of untreated sewage into the New River this week.
EL CENTRO — The Imperial County Public Health Department reminded the public Thursday, June 11, the New River continues to pose a threat to the Valleys environment, communities, and the people working in close contact with the river, after receiving a notification of sewage in the New River.
According to the release, the Imperial County Public Health Department and other county officials received the notification of the release of untreated sewage in the New River from the International Boundary and Water Commission, US Section, Yuma Field office. According to the release, the discharge was due to repair work being completed on the water plant in Mexicali.
Dr. Stephen Munday, county health officer, stated, “This release of untreated sewage into the New River is the reason why individuals should avoid contact with New River water and the riverbanks.”
The County of Imperial said it is working closely with state agencies and other local stakeholders, including the Imperial Irrigation District and the City of Calexico, to play a role in the State’s efforts to implement the New River Improvement Project to protect public health. The New River Improvement Project is a product of AB 1079, authored by Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez.
“It is extremely important for the Board of Supervisors to stay engaged with the state during these critical discussions and developments of the implementation of the New River Improvement Project,” stated Imperial County Board of Supervisors Chairman Luis A. Plancarte, District 2 representative.
The Regional Water Quality Control Board, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the US International Boundary and Water Commission are the entities contacted by County officials to help move forward efforts to correct the serious sewage infrastructure problems in Mexicali.
The County said it has yet to receive a concrete plan of how the water quality issue in the New River will be addressed by Federal and State agencies.
The public is asked to take the following precautions:
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 enter the New River
Avoid handling/collecting and eating fish/turtles/frogs from the New River
For more information, please visit Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Control Board. http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/coloradoriver/