Hadera lagoon 88 224.
(photo credit: Daniella Ashkenazy 88 224)
A dam 1.3 kilometers upstream, where the current water park meets the Coastal Highway, is supposed to prevent the rehabilitated section of Nahal Hadera, downstream, from being polluted by water from the watercourse itself.
In fact, the still much-too-green and much-too-serene effluent filled waters (see photo below) of the 35-km.-long creek is channeled into a sewer pipe that flanks the park inside the power plant compound, and dumps the contaminated contents into the Mediterranean at the point where 144,000 cubic meters of warm seawater gush out of the plant's cooling system per hour, creating turbulence that extends some 300 meters out to sea. This creates a "horizontal geyser" that dilutes the pollution, ending contamination of nearby beaches - although still contaminating the sea.
A half-full cup? Perhaps, but much has been done in the past decade to clear up Nahal Hadera. At its worst in the 1980s, the Hadera Paper Plant left a layer of wood fiber on the surface of the creek that bred mosquitoes. A thick layer of black heavy oil sediment - the forgotten legacy of a local tire factory - was discovered encountered when the creek bed was dredged. Perhaps the most impressive gain for Nahal Hadera is that effluents from Umm el-Fahm dropped from 54.4 thousand metric tons in 1994 to zero in 2003.
While the Environment Protection Ministry and the JNF feature idyllic images of people boating on the river course and fishing enthusiasts catching bream, this picture is a bit premature.
Park manager Yossi Turgeman told Metro that he was posting signs that would prohibit boating or fishing. The reason: the polluted floodwaters from up-river that in winter spill over the shallow dam that separates the park from the rest of the creek aren't entirely washed out to sea. They have deposited toxic sediment in the rehabilitated channel.
Nurit Shtorch said that the photos don't show what is, "but what ought to be." Fishing and boating will have to wait until pollution is eliminated upstream, in 2009-2010 at the earliest.
Would reclamation of Nahal Hadera have happened anyway, without the Hadera Water Park? It's hard to know.