Gozo dive spot sewage outflow persists
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Gozo dive spot sewage outflow persists

Murky discharge flowing freely into the sea from an underwater pipe

Another year and, it seems, another round of sewage problems at the popular Ras il-Ħobż dive spot in Gozo.

Footage taken by divers last week shows murky discharge flowing freely into the sea from an underwater pipe, the latest in a series of incidents dating back years.

Similar problems at the coastal area beside Mġarr ix-Xini, and close to a sewage treatment plant, have been reported by divers since at least 2013, with no enduring solution yet found.

Għajnsielem deputy mayor Kevin Cauchi, who has repeatedly flagged issues at the site, yesterday called on the authorities to address the “unacceptable situation” and put long-term solutions in place.

“Even if the outflow has been treated, it is not a pleasant scene in a dive zone, especially when divers come from abroad and spend a lot of money specifically to visit sites like this,” Mr Cauchi told the Times of Malta.

He said the authorities had made progress in addressing a related issue at the same site, where clogged manholes were leading to sewage outflow over the land, but had so far failed to tackle the underwater situation.

The Water Services Corporation could not be reached for comment yesterday but a spokesman had said the footage was being investigated and that a durable solution was being sought.

The corporation also said it was working to improve the technology used to purify the water exiting the pipe.

The corporation had last year issued a tender to tackle damage in the undersea outfall, which discharges treated sewage effluent from the Gozo sewage treatment plant into the sea.

The end part of the pipeline, which extends 140 metres from the shore and down to a maximum depth of 80 metres, had been completely blocked off over the years.

The WSC said the damage had been caused by “improper use of the urban sewer system”, which was impairing the capacity of both the network and treatment plants.

Similar sewage incidents have also been reported numerous times at nearby Xatt l-Aħmar, which the authorities also pinned on illegal discharges into the system, blocking or damaging the infrastructure.

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