Drainage at a Tel Aviv beach. .
(photo credit: ALON GARGU)
The Environmental Protection Ministry has begun sending letters to seaside municipalities, calling upon their administrators to clear drainage pipes that reach the shore before the rainy season begins.
When the first rains arrive each winter season, large quantities of waste flow from the municipal drainage systems to the country’s beaches — waste that builds up each year by way of water collectors and drainage channels, the ministry said. The water puddles and organic waste, which has rotted with time, contain bacteria buildups that eventually cascade into the sea, causing beach closures by the Health Ministry.
“Waste that was thrown onto the city streets arrives to rain collectors and roadside drainage ditches, accumulating in the drainage pipes until the first rain — when it gets washed into the sea through beach drains,” the letter said.
The peak months for rain in Israel are typically December, January and February, according to the Israel Meteorological Services. However rains do often begin as early as October.
In the letter distributed to the relevant municipalities, the Environment Ministry made clear that if the cities have not yet already done so, it is crucial they eradicate all of the accumulated waste from the drainage facilities and gutters that lead to beaches and marinas.
Aside from clearing the municipal systems, the cities should also check whether there are any pirate drainage systems operating in their vicinity and block such channels, the ministry said. The ministry also suggested that the municipalities perform comprehensive inspections of the coastal pumping stations and pits.