The Water System Failed Again

By Jesús Aguado

To have the sewer overflowing toward the stream that goes to Las Colonias dam at El Charco del Ingenio is not new. Although the legal representatives of El Charco have filed complaints at the Subprocuraduría de los Derechos Humanos (Human Rights Office in San Miguel) and those authorities have issued some recommendations to SAPASMA (Water Department of San Miguel), the director assures that there is no possible solution to the problem in the short term.

Since 2011 several citizens’ denunciations have been presented by the representatives of El Charco (César Arias, president, and Mario Hernández, director) because the sewer water pumping system failed at Palmita de Landeta and more than 300 liters of untreated water filled the Longaniza stream, which runs across Parque Landeta, connects with Presa de las Colonias, and continues through the El Charco ecological preserve. This stream was filled with untreated waste water over a period of four days. Hernández, director of El Charco, said that water then overflowed the stream bank. The stagnant water smells bad, threatens the flora and fauna of the preservation zone, and poses health risks.

For the second time this year, the Charco personnel complained that the pumping system at Palmita De Landeta stopped working on Saturday, March 28, overflowing for two nights and one day with untreated water—more than 10 liters per minute—that went straight to La Longaniza, that led it to Las Colonias Dam, which is filled with rain water.

SAPASMA’s director, Carlos Velázquez, told Atención that the problem at the pumping system was caused by the rains that weekend, but he assured that the system was still working on Sunday night when the workers went to check on it for the second time that day (as they do every day). On Monday morning they found out about the problem and they fixed it, he assured. He said that the overflowing was not that bad because “not being an expert, I can say that the untreated water would not cause more than intestinal infections to the fauna.”

Vázquez made it clear that currently there is no solution for the problem of the pumping system at Landeta other than regular supervision of the system twice a day. The construction of a collector for carrying the water to the water treatment plant would cost more than 100 million pesos, which would be, he said “SAPASMA’s budget for the next five years.”

Because of complaints filed by the representatives of el Charco at the Humans Right Department in San Miguel, some recommendations were issued to Mayor Mauricio Trejo (registered in the document PDH/122/13) due to the untreated water overflowing. Among the recommendations are to guarantee correct functioning of the pumping system. The document also recommends not to alter the ecosystem of El Charco and to guarantee a healthy environment. Those recommendations were for both Trejo and the director of the water system.


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