Sewage overflow into sea by Nitzanim Beach halted

Henin demands better solutions to recurring problem.

Beach pollution 311 (photo credit: .)
Beach pollution 311
(photo credit: .)
While the most recent flow of untreated sewage into the sea off Nitzanim Beach between Ashdod and Ashkelon was halted on Monday, the Knesset Health and Environment Committee was told on Tuesday, a better solution to the problem of malfunctioning waste treatment plants is needed, its chairman Dov Henin (Hadash) demanded of the Environmental Protection Ministry.
Henin convened his committee to discuss the latest overflow of a waste treatment plant because of a malfunction.
The Ashkelon plant sent 100,000 cubic meters of untreated sewage into the Mediterranean in five days.
Alon Zaks, head of the Water and Streams Branch of the ministry, told the committee that the flow of sewage had been stopped on Monday.
The Ashkelon plant malfunction is not unique. Each winter, various waste treatment plants malfunction at one point or another and have to let untreated sewage flow into the sea or into reservoirs that are used to hold treated wastewater that is destined to be used for irrigation.
Itai Stadler, deputy director for engineering at the Mekorot national water company, which built and continues to operates the plant, said it had functioned smoothly for 11 years, without a malfunction until last week.
The Knesset committee discussion focused on whether it was better, in the event of a malfunction, to direct untreated sewage into the reservoirs or into the sea.
Water Authority representative Danny Greenwald contended that letting it flow into the sea was the better of two bad options because sending it into a reservoir could contaminate the irrigation water and create a health risk.
On the other hand, Avi Ozen, an ecologist from the Nature and Parks Authority, maintained that diluting it in the reservoir was better than letting it flow into the streams and to the sea and thereby cause great damage to nature reserves and the ecological system.
Henin called on the Environmental Protection Ministry to come up with a better solution for preventing sewage from overflowing the treatment plants.