The Land Enforcement Division of the State Attorney’s Office submitted an
indictment to the Haifa Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday against Oil Refineries
Ltd. for discharging wastewater into the Kishon River and the Mediterranean
Based on an investigation conducted by the marine and coastal
division of the Environmental Protection Ministry, the indictment deems the
defendants responsible for the discharge of wastewater, contrary to the
conditions of their permit for the years 2010 and 2011. Four executives were
also listed on the indictment, for failing to take adequate steps to monitor and
do everything possible to avoid violating the Law for the Prevention of
Pollution, the ministry said.
In January 2010, it rained down over the
refinery, runoff water began accumulating in designated containers, the
Environment Ministry explained. These containers, however, had not been
sufficiently cleaned or emptied, and they contained contaminated wastewater.
Because the company could not continue to accumulate water, workers emptied the
contents into the Kishon River, which leads to the Mediterranean Sea, the
Tens of thousands of cubic meters of water polluted with
oils, E. coli and other materials were pumped – against the law – into the
Kishon River and from there into the sea, according to the ministry.
discharged wastewater was discovered by Environmental Protection Ministry
inspectors during a routine tour. They noticed that water was flowing from an
Oil Refineries pipe into the river and that black spots appeared in the
Only following specific instructions from the ministry’s marine
and coastal division and the Kishon River Authority did the company begin to
take action toward preventing the spread of contamination, the ministry
Despite this incident, the following year Oil Refineries made no
further preparations for the arrival of winter.
April 2011 saw heavy
rains, and one of the containers was filled with contaminated water. Due to the
absence of adequate pumping mechanisms, the already-polluted container filled
up. For about 24 hours, tens of thousands of cubic meters of very murky and
polluted water flowed into the river, the ministry said.
In response to
the indictment, a statement from Oil Refineries stressed that the submission for
indictment was only made on Wednesday, although it referred to incidents that
occurred more than two years ago during exceptionally rainy periods.
ORL [Oil Refineries Ltd.] group has begun a runoff separation project to reduce
the phenomenon, costing tens of millions of shekels,” said Shlomi Basson, Oil
Refineries’s vice president for environment, safety and security. “The project
is being conducted in coordination and with the approval of the Environmental
The group is preparing for the winter and is
providing reports in accordance with regulations.”