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Action to Stop Arab Sewage Flow to Kidron

Will government treatment facility for the sewage waters resolve the issue?
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 9/7/2012, 1:38 PM

Monastery on Nahal Kidron
Monastery on Nahal Kidron
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Nachal Kidron is a main river which begins in the old city of Jerusalem and ends in the Dead Sea area. It is one of the most contaminated rivers in Israel, the main reason being the sewage which comes from the eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods and which is discharged to the river without purification or after partial purification.

Because Nachal Kidron runs through areas which are under Israeli control, and also through areas which are under PA administration, one of the many problems that have arisen is the question who is responsible for purifying the water and who will participate in the expenses. Another problem is that the Arab residents are unwilling to cooperate.

The Legal Forum and its environmental arm, Green Now, explained that while Israel cannot take any one-sided action, the PA is doing nothing in order to make sure the water being discharged is purified, and is in fact continuing to contaminate the waters, and by doing so damaging the environment. Most of the sewage comes from Jerusalem; the main point of contention is who will receive the sewage water after it has been purified for the purpose of watering fields.

“Green Now” has commissioned an independent opinion regarding this matter which clearly states that it is necessary to construct a treatment facility for the sewage waters in order to resolve the issue.

Seeing as there is no way to separate the waters coming from west Jerusalem and those coming from the east, the state of Israel and the PA will have to reach an agreement as to the equitable utilization of the purified waters.

"Green Now” has been working tirelessly to advance the issue of sewage problems. The Ministry of Environment proclaims from every stage that Nachal Kidron is Israel’s largest sewage hazard, but on the other hand will not commit to any treatment schedules or to ensure that the  Jerusalem Municipality act to resolve the problem.

“Green Now” said it intends to pursue this matter until a solution is found and an end is put to the sewage hazard, even if this requires appealing the courts.

Another important issue with regard to the Kidron is the matter of illegal building by Arabs in the Kidron Valley area of Jersualem. The Jerusalem Municipality is working towards legalizing the buildings there, and the Legal Forum says this is disturbing as "this will cause further contamination of the Kidron and more importantly, the area is designated as a “green area” meaning there should be no building there whatsoever.