CALEXICO, Calif. - For decades contaminated water flowing from Mexico and into the New River has been a health hazard in Imperial County.
Jeff Lamoure, the Deputy Director of the Imperial County Public Health Department said, "You have the strong odors that come out, emit from the river. You have the foam that is generated in the river. These are things where the residents here in the Imperial County, the residents here in Calexico, that's what they stress. That's the concern that illness is to them and what they're being exposed to."
Recently the county proclaimed an emergency for the New River, urging California to get involved before it's too late.
District Supervisor, Jesus Escobar said of the proclamation,"This is a results-driven declaration. Because at the end of the day we're not seeing anything happen both at the Salton Sea and the New River. And if we're not seeing anything done from a diplomatic perspective, we have to forgo diplomacy and really push the envelope as much as possible."
Robert Schettler of the Imperial Irrigation District said the utility company plans on sending a letter to the state.
"We're all interlinked in support of one another. That's a big message that Sacramento needs to hear. Is that Imperial County, Salton Sea, these issues...they need state attention."
State Representatives such as Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, are working with the government to see what more needs to be done to bring awareness on the issue.
Garcia said, "This is an issue that really requires all levels of government. Including our binational partners in Mexico to be able to solve this problem. But California again is taken some leadership regardless of the jurisdictional question of federal government. We want to see this taken care of."
Assemblymember Garcia said he hopes to put together a new legislation that'll bring more funds to help clean the New River.