kishon river birdies 311.
(photo credit: Kishon River Authority)
The Interior Ministry approved a plan to drain 500,000 tons of contaminated
sediment from the Kishon River and then rehabilitate the entire polluted area by
creating a vibrant park.
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The decision was taken at a meeting of the
ministry’s planning and construction branch in Haifa late last week.
plan – which includes treating the contaminated sludge and turning it into
normal soil, has been avidly promoted by the Environmental Protection Ministry,
the Kishon Drainage Authority, the Kishon River Authority, local production
plants, the Haifa Municipality and Kibbutz Yagur, the ministry said.
cost of approximately $56.5 million, the plan not only calls for the drainage of
half a million tons of sludge from the riverbed, but also another 200,000 tons
of old dredged material from ponds along the river, according to Danny Sherban,
CEO and chief engineer of Yodfat Engineers, the company responsible for drainage
For the past decade, researchers have debated whether the
high incidence of cancer among former naval commandoes who had dived in the
river for training was linked to the high level of pollutants in the
The drainage process will take about three years, “including the
dredging works and the sediment treatment works, water and air treatment works,”
which are being planned so that that no “disturbances to the public will occur
during and after the work’s completion,” Sherban told The Jerusalem Post on
The team will use a hydraulic dredger to remove sediment in a
“sufficiently liquefied form” that will then “be pumped through a floating,
closed, flexible pipe system” – avoiding truck spills, he said.
dredging is completed, the goal is to convert the area into a park, with bicycle
and walking paths on both sides of the river, the Interior Ministry
“It would be somewhat over-ambitious to assume the area can be
restored to the pre-industrial situation in the Haifa Bay area, but the project
will immensely improve the river bottom’s condition as well as the environmental
well-being of the river banks and the water,” Sherban said.
definitely imperative that the industries along the river continue to be
monitored and maintain a proper quality of their discharges into the river, to
avoid further contamination of the sediment that arrives each year and the
severe drainage hazards caused by the imposed halts in dredging and required
maintenance operations due to the aforementioned contamination.”
the cost of the plan is currently estimated at $56.5m., Sherban said that an
international tender for the rehabilitation process will be published, directed
at specialist environmental contractors, and it is impossible to predict the
The implementation of this plan is also critical,
Sherban explained, since the Kishon’s hydraulic capacity, the volume of water
flow it can accommodate, is being increasingly reduced by the naturally produced
sediment settling along its last six or seven kilometers.
River is the most important drainage conduit and its hydraulic capacity is the
most important factor defining whether the Haifa Bay area will be flooded during
the rainy season,” he said.
“The contamination of this sediment was,
however, not natural but due to petrochemical, municipal and chemical industrial
activity. The project is expected to solve both problems – the river’s hydraulic
capacity as well as the environmental damage caused. Continuous monitoring,
enforcement and the basic capability to carry out maintenance works at
reasonable cost are obviously imperative.”
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