State Comptroller Report |

Israel Is Bungling Cleanup of Polluted Industrial Sites, State Comptroller Says

The state comptroller cites problems such as a rocket-fuel ingredient polluting water used at orange orchards.

Zafrir Rinat
Zafrir Rinat
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Zafrir Rinat
Zafrir Rinat

A number of ministries have failed to address polluted soil and groundwater at Israel Military Industries sites in the Haifa and Rehovot areas, the state comptroller said in his report on security and defense issues published Wednesday.

This failure persisted over years despite the risk to public health, the damage to natural water sources, and the increasing costs for cleaning up the sites, said the comptroller, Joseph Shapira.

Even though production at the Haifa site was halted several years ago, no arrangement to fund the cleanup has been reached between the Defense Ministry and IMI, the comptroller said. The ministry told the comptroller it had asked IMI to immediately begin cleaning up the site, but IMI said it needed government funding.

In the Rehovot area, land next to an IMI site is polluted by perchlorate, a chemical used to produce rocket fuel. Perchlorate can cause thyroid damage in humans.

According to the comptroller, the Israel Water Authority has not finished identifying the sources of the pollution. As a result, the authority must still carry out a risk assessment based on the pollution's spread, and no prevention plan has been drawn up. Meanwhile, chemicals are spreading toward water boreholes around Rehovot.

The Environmental Protection Ministry learned about the perchlorate problem in December 2005, but did not act for five years, the comptroller said. According to the report, the ministry said the authority failed to provide the necessary information, while the authority said it had.

Another problem was the irrigation of orange orchards in the Rehovot area with water polluted by perchlorate. The comptroller found that farmers had received contradictory instructions from various ministries, so they continued using the water.

A defunct IMI plant said to have contaminated the ground.Credit: Guy Raivitz

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage