Tel Aviv area water sources severely polluted : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Tuesday, July 25, 2000 Tel Aviv area water sources severely polluted, survey finds

By Zafrir Rinat Ha'aretz Correspondent

A Health Ministry survey of potable water sources has discovered irreversible damage to the groundwater sources of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.

The survey found a general water-quality problem that affects almost all the groundwater in the district.

In the wake of the survey, five drill sites have been shut down and three more are in the process of being terminated.

The survey, which began last year and continued until very recently, examined 105 of the 122 sources that supply drinking water to Tel Aviv and most of the surrounding towns, as well as to Ramat Hasharon and Kfar Shmaryahu.

The purpose of the survey was to find possible concentrations of organic micropollutants. These materials, usually found in low concentrations, have their source mainly in pesticides, industrial waste and organic solvents.

The tests showed organic pollutants at various levels in 88 percent of the drill sites. A particularly serious finding was that at one-third of these sites, concentrations were found at the maximum level permitted, though they had not yet exceeded it.

Only 17 percent of the water sources were found to be totally free of microorganisms.

The water examined comes in part from the springs at Rosh Ha'ayin and in part directly from the coastal aquifer. The findings reinforce the impression that Tel Aviv has had a serious water problem for years.

According to the ministry, 34 drill sites have been shut down in the Tel Aviv region in the past 15 years - 15 because of salinity and 16 others because of the presence of toxic materials or fertilizers. Most of the sites shut down in the past year were in Givatayim and Ramat Hasharon, though there were also some in Bat Yam.

The Tel Aviv survey is part of a countrywide survey which the ministry is conducting in preparation for the introduction of stricter standards of water quality.

Some materials found in the Tel Aviv water sources are carcinogenic or can damage the nervous and digestive systems.

Valery Pohoryles, the environmental engineer for the Health Ministry's Tel Aviv district, wrote in the survey: "We have warned many times that the use of the coastal aquifer in this district is problematic because of its location beneath a crowded urban area that contains many sources of pollutants - a situation that does not exist in developed countries."

Pohoryles said that home consumers receive water fit for drinking, as every source that exceeds the pollution level is shut down. However, she doubted whether it would be possible to improve the aquifer by cleansing or by preventing the penetration of additional pollutants. Such measures, she said, will not remove the pollution within a reasonable time

-- Martin Thompson (, July 24, 2000

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