go down to the Jordan river_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
The wastewater treatment facility in Beit She’an may be forced to close within
two weeks, causing hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of raw sewage to flow
into the Jordan River, clean water advocacy group Zalul warned this
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The Beit She’an Municipality and the surrounding Emek Mayanot
Regional Council in the North together owe NIS 3 million to the operator of
their waste-water treatment facility, the NGO said.
Continued failure to
pay could result in a plant shutdown, Zalul said. Demanding that government
officials step in to force the municipalities to pay, the NGO asked that
authorities use all administrative and legal means at their disposal to prevent
the renewed flow of raw sewage into the river.
“We expect the Water
Authority to be much tougher with the municipalities and do something about it,”
Zalul campaign manager Dalia Tal told The Jerusalem Post. Part of the problem is
that Beit She’an lacks a water corporation of its own, something that is illegal
in and of itself, Tal said.
Last week, representatives of Zalul asked
Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, Interior Minister Eli Yishai and
Water Authority head Alex Kushnir to intervene.
In response, Water
Authority sewage infrastructure development director Moshe Garazi confirmed to
the NGO that there is a serious problem in the region and that he is working
with the Interior Ministry to resolve the issues.
Beit She’an owes NIS
2m. to the operator, and while Emek Mayanot has paid for continuous
standard sewage treatment, the regional council owes NIS 1m. for the processing
of industrial wastewater – water containing abnormal amounts of oils, fats and
sodium chlorides, according to Zalul.
Meanwhile, the nearby Gilboa
Regional Council, which is slated to eventually use the facility, has not yet
connected or paid for access to the system, and continues to empty its sewage
into the Harod Stream.
“It’s not just pollution,” Tal said. “This water
would go to agriculture – so you are losing twice.”
Protection Ministry spokeswoman said on Thursday that her office had turned to
Beit She’an and received a reply that the city is in its final stages of
approving a recovery plan.
Under this plan, the municipality said it is
supposed to receive money from the state that will be directed to the operator
of the Beit She’an wastewater treatment plant.
While the city told the
ministry that this would be done within a few weeks, the Environmental
Protection Ministry’s northern district director asked that the Interior
Ministry intervene in the matter.
Attempts by the Post to reach both the
Beit She’an Municipality and the Emek Mayanot Regional Council met with no
response, but Ma’ariv reported both as saying they are actively working to pay
the debt and hope that the controversy will be resolved soon.