Cleaning the murky mud of what was once the nation’s most polluted riverbed is
now up for international auction, the Environmental Protection Ministry
announced on Sunday.
As part of a three-year Kishon River cleaning
project being overseen by the joint forces of the Environmental Protection
Ministry, the Kishon River Authority and the Kishon Drainage Authority, the
organizations involved published an international tender on Saturday in The
Economist magazine calling for the excavation and cleaning of the river’s floor.
The tender, which was also published in the Israeli press on Sunday, involves
excavating the entire contaminated bottom layer of the riverbed that accumulated
over the course of decades, and then purifying the contents, the ministry
Excavation will be occurring over a length of seven kilometers and
a depth of two-and-a-half meters, with workers sucking the contaminated
sediments into a sealed pipe that will relay the materials to a special site for
biological treatment delivered in an eco-friendly manner, according to the
ministry. After the treatment, the soil will be carefully monitored to ensure it
is indeed free of pollutants before it is returned to the Kishon region to be
used as soil for a future metropolitan park.
This will be the first time
that the Jezreel Valley’s Kishon River will have faced such a rigorous cleaning
since the 1930s, the ministry said.
The weekend’s international tender
follows another bid for the Kishon River published last week, which involves
earthworks, as well as sealing and diverting the current path of the
Prior to publishing the two bids, the organizations arranged an
informational conference open to the public in the presence of Environmental
Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, who detailed the procedures to the community,
according to the ministry.
The Kishon River Authority emphasized that the
newest tender was part of an expansive, advanced rehabilitation process for the
stream. “The floor-cleaning project of the Kishon from pollution is part of the
process, which also includes a stoppage and treatment of pollution sources, a
supply of water to the stream, conservation and restoration of habitats along
the stream and the establishment of parks and river trails – subjects that the
Kishon River Authority promotes,” the authority said in a statement.
Kishon River was once considered the most polluted river in Israel, but through
advanced rehabilitation processes in recent years, the body of water has seen
the return of fish, river turtles, birds and rare plants, the ministry said. The
stream’s dangerously high pollution levels were attributed to nearby chemical
plants, and beginning about a decade ago, doctors discovered an unusually high
presence of cancer in IDF veterans that had trained in the river.
is a historical project after whose conclusion the public can enjoy a clean
river and an expansive park,” Erdan said. “We are repairing the injustice of the
past that caused river pollution for decades.”
At the end of the process,
the public will enjoy a clean and reconstructed stream that will be available
for water sport activities, including boating, the ministry explained. “One of
the main goals of the project is to enable the use of the stream and its waters
for recreational activities, and at its completion, an ecological restoration of
the treatment site will be implemented,” the Kishon Authority said.