Gozo beauty spot turned into a stink, again
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Gozo beauty spot turned into a stink, again

An eyewitness speaks of a sense of helplessness

The sewage outflow at Ras il-Ħobż.

The sewage outflow at Ras il-Ħobż.

A major sewage leak has turned scenic Ras il-Ħobż in Gozo into a horrific state, for the second time in a month.

Nigel Donavan has recounted how last Tuesday as he was strolling next to the Mġarr ix-Xini Tower close to Ras il-Ħobż he was stunned to see sewage overflowing from land drains into the sea at one of the island’s top diving spots.

“When I saw sewage flowing along the foreshore, the leak had clearly been going on for a while because it had already made its way to the sea,” Mr Donavan, who has been living in Gozo for the past five years, told The Sunday Times of Malta.

The precise cause has still to be confirmed. Although the Water Services Corporations (WSC) had publicly claimed that Gozo’s sewage treatment facility located at Ras il-Ħobż is functioning properly, according to fresh reports there has been at least one sewage overflow from land and another from the sea during the past week.

Mr Donavan posted photos on social media saying that the overflow had even spread to “the commercially used salt pans”. Speaking to the Sunday Times of Malta he said he felt helpless being unable to stop it.

The leak had clearly been going on for a while because it had already made its way to the sea

While there was a land overflow, he recalled when, simultaneously, he came across a large brown cloud “erupting from the depths” and spread out in the bay with sea currents.

“The bay and its surroundings are a beautiful spot of Gozo. I enjoy it with my family to relax and to appreciate its natural wonders. These problems need to stop now,” he said.

Other eyewitnesses who asked not to be identified said there were other occurrences where they noted a stink, suggesting there had been another sewage mishap.

The Environment and Resources Authority told The Sunday Times of Malta that its officers “have carried out inspections and investigated the report on brownish water near Ras il-Ħobż” adding that it hasn’t yet concluded what might have led to the appearance of this brownish patch.

The Authority shall also “be assessing any impacts on the Mġarr ix-Xini-Ras il-Ħobż coastal area,” it added.

Last month, Times of Malta published snapshots by local diver and film-maker Roy Davidson showing how on November 6 a large brown cloud had made it to the surface at Ras il-Ħobż. The WSC stressed that the urban sewage network was working well and that improvements had also been carried out.

Nestled between Mġarr ix-Xini and Xatt l-Aħmar, the zone is the reason why many foreign divers make the extra mile to the sister isle. Unfortunately, past sewage leaks have eroded its international profile.

The treatment facility centre run by the WSC substituted the island’s former four sewage outflows. Its objective was to stop the outflow of sewage into the sea.

The WSC said that anyone who encounters any wrong use of the sewer system should contact the corporation on Freephone: 8007 6400 or send an email on customercare@wsc.com.mt

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