About 13 percent of wastewater generated by the settlements of Judea and Samaria
flow in the form of raw sewage directly into the ground or into insecure outdoor
cesspits, a new state-commissioned report has revealed.
however, still pales in comparison to the 96% figure of raw sewage being
released into the environment by Palestinian villages and towns, the Water
The new report, called a “Survey of Sewage Collection and
Treatment Facilities in Israeli population in Judea and Samaria in 2012,” aims
to advance solutions for sewage and reclaimed wastewater in the region, to
reduce pollution from environmental contaminants.
Conducted by the
hydrological research and surveys arm of the Israel Nature and Park’s
Authority’s environmental unit, the survey was cosponsored by the civil
administration and the Environmental Protection Ministry.
In addition to
revealing the 13% chunk of raw settler sewage emanating from the region, the
report identifies that the sewage of about 28% of the settlers is being sent to
processing facilities that are either malfunctioning or entirely
The survey examined 311 sewage collection terminals and
treatment facilities, and 154 sewage contributors: settlements, industrial zones
and public sites. In addition, the report looks at the volume of wastewater
coming from each settlement, the volume of wastewater collected at each facility
and the end solutions for reclaimed wastewater, such as agricultural and
In a region containing approximately 352,170
settlers, only the sewage of 71% of this population – 249,635 residents – is
treated in the 54 completely intact sewage treatment facilities that exist for
the Israeli-administered portions of the region, the survey said.
remaining sewage of about 28% of the Judea and Samaria settler population heads
to 39 facilities – 19 of which are not fully functional and 20 of which are
Five sewage treatment facilities in Israel proper also
receive some wastewater from the settlements, the survey explained.
total volume of wastewater produced by the Israeli population of Judea and
Samaria is estimated to be about 17.1 million cubic meters per year. Of this
total, approximately 2.2 m.cu.m. – or 13% – is annually discharged to the
environment in raw form through neglect or by absorption in underground
cesspits, the report explained. About 1.5 m.cu.m. of this 2.2 m.cu.m. is
discharged in raw form due to absence of, or inactivity of a treatment
The other 700,000 cu.m. being released to the environment does so
after receiving initial treatment only in septic pits or cesspits.
of the wastewater discharges are occurring in areas of high hydrological
sensitivity – about 2 m.cu.m. per year – and about 180,000 cu.m. per year and
190,000 cu.m. per year are flowing in medium and low hydrological sensitivity
zones, respectively, according to the report.
The volume of wastewater
treated in plants in Judea and Samaria is estimated to be about 14.9 m.cu.m. per
year, with approximately 92.8% of that treatment happening in biological-
mechanical secondary wastewater treatment plants. Only about 7.2% of that total
volume is undergoing treatment in stateof- the-art tertiary sewage treatment
centers, where a disinfecting process is carried out, the report said, noting
that facility upgrades are ongoing.
Of the treated wastewater, 14.7
m.cu.m. per year are reused, with 64% of the water irrigating agriculture and
landscapes. For the sake of comparison, in Israel proper, about 86% of treated
wastewater is reused in such irrigation, the report stated. The remaining
treated wastewaters are discharged in a variety of basins, mostly in highly
sensitive hydrological areas.
Out of the 73 completely and semi active
sewage treatment plants in Judea and Samaria, the report researchers only took
samples at 35 of them, but generated findings of concern.
concentrations of higher than 250 milligrams per liter were measured in about
50% of samples and nitrogen concentrations higher than 25 mg. per liter were
measured in about 90% of the volumes samples.
of biological oxygen demand lower than 30 mg. per liter were measured in 90% of
the samples, while concentrations of suspended solids were measured between 10
and 100 mg. per liter in about 80% of the samples, the survey said.
is necessary to promote appropriate sewage solutions in cooperation and in
coordination with the various relevant authorities, in order to prevent the flow
of sewage and effluents into the environment,” the report
Calling for better pipe, pumping station and sewage treatment
facility maintenance, the authors also stressed that much more use of reclaimed
wastewater for agricultural irrigation in Judea and Samaria must occur.
Meanwhile, the survey also called for expanding treated wastewater quality
sampling, as well as expansion of data collection on wastewater at industrial
zones, army bases and settler outposts – in order to acquire “a more complete
picture of the sewage treatment for the Judea and Samaria population.”
response to the report, Water Authority spokesman Uri Schor said that some of
the figures were inaccurate according to the authority’s data, which shows 18
m.cu.m. of wastewater produced annually by settlers, rather than the 17.1
m.cu.m. figure in the survey.
Of this 18 m.cu.m., 13.5 m.cu.m. are
treated either locally or in Israel proper, and 4.5 m.cu.m. – or 25% – of the
sewage remains untreated, Schor confirmed.
In the same region, however,
the Palestinian population produces 55 m.cu.m. of sewage per year, and only
about 2 m.cu.m. (4%) of this total receives treatment, according to
“All the rest, 53 m.cu.m., are not treated and are polluting the
area and the aquifers,” he said. “That means that the amount of the Palestinian
sewage that pollutes the area is even more than 10 times... what the
Jewish settlers produce.”
In Israel proper, almost all of the wastewater
is treated and recycled, he said.
Regarding Judea and Samaria, Schor in
part slammed the Palestinians for creating obstacles to Israeli efforts to
further sewage treatment efforts. According to the terms of the Joint Water
Committee established after the Oslo II Accords, both sides must agree on water
infrastructure projects occurring under the jurisdiction of either
“Israel has plans to finish the purification of all the sewage but
the Palestinians are not cooperating, and are denying us from [conducting] six
projects that will solve this problem altogether,” Schor said.
not agree to authorize anything that is connected to the Jewish settlers.”