Waste waters raise a stink at ministry

The Ministry for Environmental Protection has filed court charges against the city of Ashdod and former mayor Zvi Zilker over the illegal pouring of waste water containing raw sewage into the sea, reports www.local.co.il. The charges relate to four occasions between May and August in 2004 in which a total of 300,000 cubic meters of waste water were allowed to flow into the sea. According to the report, the ministry has filed a case in the Beersheba Magistrates' Court alleging that although the city had a permit to allow waste water to pour into the sea in preceding months, that permit expired in April 2004 and the subsequent flows were illegal. In addition, the ministry says the amount of raw sewage in the waste water far exceeded the permitted standards, with the quantity of feces measured at 154 when the permitted level was only 20, and with the quantity of fecal e.coli bacteria measured at 290,000 when the permitted level was only 400. The report said the ministry has charged the former mayor, a senior city engineer and the municipality with allowing waste water to flow into the sea and with failing to report the flow of waste water into the sea. No comment was reported from Zilker. A municipal spokesman said the city had not yet seen the charges, but when it did it would respond to the court.