Let me guess… You love Salento, you heard something about a Depuratore (water treatment plant) but you can’t for the life of you understand what the whole thing is about. A water treatment plant that should drop sewage water in this pristine sea?
It can’t be! Or can it?
If you are confused you can relax, it has nothing to do with you or your Italian. The situation is messy also by Italian standards!
Anyway, here we are, ready to help you… and to ask for your help. We’ll try to explain the problem in very clear terms and we would be so very grateful if you could assist us in making sure the world knows about this absurd situation and that, just as importantly, Italian politicians know that the world knows! Here we go:
What is the matter with the water treatment system of Sava and Manduria?
We are fighting to protect the wonderful sea of Salento from a reckless project aiming to build a water treatment plant right next to the beach – on a territory where two natural reserves are located – with an ‘emergency’ solution of dumping sewage into the sea (straight into the foreshore, thence on the beach). With this page we would like to briefly explain the matter, and at the bottom you will find how you can support us (in a few clicks).
Initially the project entailed dumping sewage waters into the sea through a submarine pipeline. An amendment of 11th July 2017 entails, instead, that the sewage clean-up is done in two (smelly) storage basins and waters are reused. However any excess production would be damped on the foreshore through a natural furrow.
Dumping the sewage on the foreshore should be done also in case of emergency, but we should rather call it a ‘planned emergency’, because the size of the plant is such that the ‘emergency’ would occur at least 14 times a year. This is clearly a trick that has nothing of an emergency’s nature. This solution secures AQP (The Puglia Water Supply, the biggest in Europe) from the accumulation of refined liquid waste in the case, very likely to happen, that there is no way to effectively use 10.000 cu.m liquids per day.
A water treatment plant that dumps sewage into the sea 14 times per year should be treated as a threat for the marine environment under any circumstances. Yet, in a region where already multiple plants have been put under seizure, for pollution and destruction of natural beauties, it becomes clear that citizens are seeing this project as doom. The ‘Dirty Water’ operation, just to name one, has resulted in freezing orders to several water treatment systems in Puglia, and it involves directly the same company that is building this plant (Putignano) as well as high officers of AQP and Puglia Region’s political institutions – please read this article of Corriere del Mezzogiorno.
The councils that should have access to the water treatment plant are Manduria, Sava and Manduria’s seaside villages.
Right now Manduria has a water treatment plant that is obsolete, and dumps sewage into the groundwater. Sava has a water treatment plant that was built about 20 years ago, never brought to completion and never put into operation.
Theoretically the water treatment plant that is currently in plan should also serve the 17 kilometers of seaside villages of Manduria, and it’s sized accordingly. However, there is no sewage system running through the seaside villages of Manduria (can you believe this?!), nor there are evidences of funds to be allocated to such a project, though it is very much needed.
This picture comes from the executive project from AQP; please note how absurd it is to have a sewage treatment plant far away from the areas that should be served (Manduria and Sava) and very close to the areas that cannot be served (the seaside villages)…
In summary, this project has been conceived many years ago (the course started back in 2005, initial approval is from 2009), by regional and city councils that are now dissolved, with technologies that are now obsolete, and criteria and procedures that are very questionable.
We ask therefore a substantial modification of the project, and the construction of a water treatment plant (or two smaller ones) far from the coast, as the majority of the councils in Puglia has already done.
In this website we share all the available documentation about this project and in our blog we’ll explain the alternative hypothetical projects, they differ but they all have one thing in common: the water treatment plant should be built far from the coast, far from towns, far from natural reserves as well as touristic and cultural sites.
How can you help?
To make an impact we should be many and stand together. So, this is what you can do now:
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