Albufera treatment plant, Mallorca

The Albufera plant has been the subject of argument for years.

11-10-2020

The prosecution service in the Balearics has opened criminal investigation proceedings related to environmental harm caused by the water treatment plant in Albufera, which serves Playa de Muro and Can Picafort.

Towards the end of last month, prosecutor Maria Rosario García sent letters to Muro and Santa Margalida town halls, requiring that they report on measures adopted in respect of the treatment of wastewater due to the problems stemming from the operation of the plant. The prosecutor is also demanding information on procedures regarding the construction of a new treatment plant in Santa Margalida.

The town halls fear that these proceedings are to do with potential charges of environmental crime because of the treatment plant's lack of capacity for treating wastewater from Playa de Muro and Can Picafort. The plant is close to the Albufera Nature Park, while the Can Picafort booster station is within the park's grounds. Discharges due to pipeline failures and the infiltration of poorly treated water in wells in Santa Margalida could be behind this potential crime.

There was a recent meeting between the mayors of Muro and Santa Margalida, Antoni Serra and Joan Monjo, the director general of the regional government's water resources department, Joan Garau, and the head of the government's Abaqua water agency, Guillem Rosselló. This was to discuss the three-party agreement for the management of the plant (the two town halls and Abaqua) and the construction of a new plant for dealing with Can Picafort wastewater.

The meeting ended without agreement, the environment ministry (via Abaqua) having decided to give up on the building of a plant in Son Baulo that Santa Margalida town hall has, for a number of years, consistently opposed. Muro town hall fears that the expiry of the three-party agreement - the two town halls have been told that they can manage the Albufera plant on their own - will mean years of further delay: "Santa Margalida will take ten years to build its own treatment plant. Meanwhile, the Son Bosc plant (Albufera) continues to discharge poorly treated water."

The environment ministry, for its part, says that the most recent report regarding the performance of treatment plants showed that in 2019 the Albufera plant was complying with legal parameters. This, the ministry adds, was because of investment made during the period of the 2015-2019 government.

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