polluted stream 311.
(photo credit: Zalul)
Suspected negligence by an IDF contractor working on the West Bank security
barrier caused massive amounts of raw sewage to spew into Alexander Stream and
overwhelm the waste treatment center last Tuesday, the Environmental Protection
The Alexander Stream has been undergoing rehabilitation
since 1997. One of its major threats is one of its tributaries, the Shechem
Stream, which flows from the West Bank.
Sewage and garbage are routinely
thrown into the stream from Nablus and Tulkarm, Emek Hefer Regional Council
Spokesman Haim Altman told The Jerusalem Post
To prevent that sewage
from contaminating the Alexander Stream, the council put in a grate several
years ago and also erected a waste treatment plant specifically to treat the
water that flows from the Shechem Stream. The treated water is then returned to
the Alexander Stream.
The grate, however, runs under the security
The agreement worked out with the Defense Ministry, after
several such similar incidents in the past, was that if the ministry was
planning on opening the grate, it needed to first clean it out and also inform
the Emek Hefer Regional Council that the grate was going to be
However, on Monday night, the contractor apparently opened the
grate without cleaning it out first and without informing anyone, the
Environmental Protection Ministry said. The sewage and debris which had gathered
behind the grate burst forth and polluted the Alexander Stream and has totally
overwhelmed the waste treatment center, Altman said.
Teams from the
council were out all Tuesday cleaning up the sewage and teams from the North
Sharon Union of Cities sprayed against mosquitoes, he said.
Environmental Protection Ministry said it had sent teams to assess the damage as
Council head Rani Idan sent an urgent letter to Defense Minister
Ehud Barak, copied to Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, complaining
that once again the defense establishment had put the rehabilitation of the
stream at risk by not adhering to the protocol worked out six months
The IDF Spokesman's Office responded by saying, “Close to the
security barrier in the region of the Alexander Stream is infrastructure
purpose is to prevent the flowing of wastewater from Judea and Samaria
During the course of maintenance of the infrastructure, a
situation was created in which wastewater flowed into the Alexander
“The IDF is distressed over the damage to the stream. As a result
of the incident, the matter will be investigated and actions taken as a