Sewage flow in Ness Ziona.
(photo credit: BOROCHOV EVENTS PHOTOGRAPHY)
Residents of Ness Ziona are threatening to sue the neighboring municipality of Rehovot, after copious amounts of raw sewage flowed from the latter into their midst over Yom Kippur.
Last week, the Ness Ziona Municipality received many complaints from residents feeling nausea, dizziness and choking, a spokesman for the city said on Thursday. During Yom Kippur, large amounts of sewage had flowed from Rehovot into Ness Ziona, filling the city with foul odors, he added.
The residents leading the potential lawsuit predominantly hail from the city’s western neighborhoods of Shmurat Malibu and Argaman, the areas most affected by the leakage.
Legal action would follow repeated sewage spills from Rehovot across the municipal border, despite ongoing warnings from Ness Ziona, the spokesman explained.
On Wednesday, a lawyer for the Ness Ziona residents sent a letter to the mayor and Rehovot city manager, alerting the officials of their intention to file a class-action lawsuit against the city and giving them 48 hours to respond.
The letter identifies the source of sewage leak as the sewage treatment plant in the Rehovot Science Park. The residents demand that Rehovot take means to prevent future sewage overflow, pump out the runoff from the drainage canals of both cities, clean the canals and spray the drainage areas against mosquitoes.
Following the Yom Kippur event, Ness Ziona Mayor Yossi Shabo sent a letter to Environmental Protection Ministry officials, pointing out the repeated nature of such incidents and demanding that criminal proceedings be initiated against Rehovot.
The ministry replied that the recurrent sewage flow constitutes a serious offense as well as a public health risk, and instructed the city of Rehovot to upgrade its treatment facility, according to the Ness Ziona spokesman.
Yossi Sagron, the director of Ness Ziona’s city improvement department, also recently wrote a letter to the ministry, stressing that a failure to handle the situation will simply result in the phenomenon’s recurrence.
“I demand that this be taken care of thoroughly and promptly, including summoning the mayor of Rehovot to a hearing, because we cannot accept the fact that Ness Ziona has become the trashcan of the city of Rehovot,” Sagron wrote.
Due to the ongoing Succot holiday, officials in the Rehovot Municipality and in the Environment Ministry could not be reached for comment.