30% of the wastewater at sewage treatment plants managed by the Balearic Water and Environmental Quality Agency exceeds pollution limits.
"In the Balearic Islands we don’t have much industry, but there is intense tourist activity which generates pollutants,” explains Joan Calvo, Abaqua Secretary General. “Only faecal water should come to these plants, but we are finding oils, fats and chemicals from industrial estates and dry marinas as well as the remains from slaughterhouses. There are thresholds for these and other polluting wastes, but in Majorca they surpass 30% of the volume that arrives at the sewage treatment plants,” he said.
According to data from 2019, the 56 Abaqua sewage treatment plants in Majorca treated 27.3 million cubic metres and 29.7% exceeded the limits set for pollutants in Majorca and 45% in Ibiza.
"Industrial waste that’s arriving at our sewage treatment plants, should have their own management circuit and not end up in the sewers through uncontrolled dumping. There is also a lack of separation between the sewage and storm water pipes and that hinders the treatment capacity at sewage treatment plants when there’s heavy rain,” said Calvo.
Joan Calvo insists that a number of changes must be made.
"The Town Councils, that have competent supply and sewerage networks, are now concerned with reducing losses in drinking water pipes,” said The Abaqua Secretary-General. “However, there are also losses in the sewers, and it is equally important to repair them, because they produce contaminant leaks in the soil and in the case of marine intrusion in an area near the coast, a mixture of faecal water arrives at the sewage treatment plant along with salt water which makes treatment difficult. After the purification process, the treated water is discharged with a level of salinity that is inadequate. I repeat that sewage must reach the sewage system and not all kinds of mixtures,” he said.