Urgent Environmental Report Requested on Stream Contamination in Chicamtoltina, Alta Gracia

An urgent environmental information report has been requested asking for further information in light of the increasing stream contamination in Chicamtoltina, Alta Gracia.

The authorities have given no responses as the Chicamtoltina streams have been declared an environmental emergency, compromising both the health and environment of the inhabitants of Alta Gracia and Anisacate. FUNDEPS supported residents in requesting an urgent report to find out more information.

The present state of the Alta Gracia lagoons is alarming. Although initially, the sanitary works project envisaged for the city treatment centre proposed constructing six basins, only four have been built to date. Furthermore, six basins are considered suitable to meet the needs of 15 thousand inhabitants, however, the population of the area currently reaches a total of 50 thousand.

According to information that FUNDEPS has, constructing this group of basins was tendered for, even though at least four more basins are needed for the sewage treatment systems to function effectively. In this context, 40 percent of the population does not have adequate sanitary facilities.Residents of the area have toured the sanitary lagoons facilities to establish the present situation. Firstly, incoming sewage pipes were found covered with cement and soil. Similarly, the filter screens were blocked.

Also, large quantities of waste were seen stuck around the basin edges due to saturation. What’s more, the saturated funnel did not allow the waste to separate and there were no signs of excavation in the area where one of the tendered basins is supposed to be built. The reed beds, in the treatment centre, were also found to be damaged and in a complete state of abandonment. The site shows evidence of significant deterioration: there were abundant mounds of mud contaminated with bacteria, to the extent where lime has had to be thrown on the sewage waste in some areas. The situation gets worse, considering that the main destination for the sewage waste is the streams of Alta Gracia, Chicamtoltina.

Salida de líquidos cloacales al arroyo ChicamtoltinaEven though the town of Anisacate has been declared an environmental emergency since the 22nd August and the city of Alta Gracia is in the process of being declared, the high levels of faecal coliforms, the accumulation of waste on the stream banks and the concentration of polluting liquids (such as detergents) are worrying.

This is a situation that compromises the health of the inhabitants and the environment of the area. Sewage liquid flowing into the Chicamtoltina Stream In spite of the insistence of the Alta Gracia and Anisacate residents, who have protested and submitted an environmental information request to the authorities for a report on the existence of a project improving the sanitary lagoons, the authorities have made no kind of response nor resolution in this regard. For this reason, FUNDEPS has helped the residents submit an urgent environmental information report to obtain information relating to an eventual improvement, which will end this situation of health and environmental degradation.

Likewise, other legal options are being explored to stop the activities of the sewage treatment company Establecimiento de Depuración de Líquidos Cloacales C.O.S.A.G. LTDA and to repair the environmental damage already caused.

For further information:

please contact: info@fundeps.org

Translated by Clare Sharman