Sewage Creates Hazards for Nes Tziona Residents

The cause is Rehovot's overloaded sewage infrastructure, which should serve as a warning to the planning authorities.

Zafrir Rinat
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Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot.Credit: Weizmann Institute of Science
Zafrir Rinat

Residents of the southern neighborhoods of Nes Tziona have been exposed in recent weeks to bad smells and mosquitoes, which originate in the sewage flowing from the neighboring city of Rehovot. The prolonged battled of the residents against these hazards has not brought about any change in the situation as of last week. This situation should serve as a warning to the planning authorities and the Housing and Construction Ministry, which are presently involved in advancing extensive construction plans, because it illustrates a situation in which sewage infrastructure was not adapted to new large-scale construction, as happened in Rehovot.

The source of the hazards is the station for pumping sewage in Rehovot, which is supposed to channel it to a municipal purification plant. According to the Health Ministry, this is an old station that receives large quantities of sewage, beyond the quantity planned for treatment, due to the extensive construction in the city. Therefore it is plagued by frequent problems, and large quantities of sewage flow to the adjacent neighborhoods in Nes Tziona, instead of to the purification plant.

According to attorney Doron Radai, a resident of Nes Tziona who is involved in the residents’ battle to end the hazards, there have been several requests to government ministries and the Rehovot municipality, but so far without results. Radai contacted the Rehovot municipality and demanded that in the first stage they construct a temporary reservoir to absorb the overflowing sewage. When he spoke to the Health Ministry, the director of the Environmental Health Department in the Central District, Etti Burla, told him: “Several months ago a plan to upgrade the station was approved, but it was not advanced for various reasons. In addition, no orderly timetables were submitted to our ministry for implementing an upgrade in the station.”

Radai also complained to the Environmental Protection Ministry, which this week held a hearing for the Rehovot municipality. At the hearing it turned out that the construction of a large new pumping station will be concluded only in 2017. The ministry demanded that the municipality organize until then for prevention and swift response: to use means for blocking and pooling sewage – in case of overflow after a mishap – so that it can be pumped effectively.