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Samara Residents Denounce Polluting of Lagarto River
Palí Assures Their Water Meets Legal Standards of Treatment

By Arianna McKinney

Under the bridge between Samara center and Cangrejal, two drainage pipes pour out directly into the Río Lagarto riverbed, and members of the Samara community suspect that the water is contaminated. 

The tubes carry water from businesses such as the Century 21 building and the Palí supermarket, confirmed Eduardo Arnaez, Samara’s water administrator. However, he believes that the majority of any possible contamination comes from Palí, which produces the highest volume of the residual waters discharged through these tubes. Also he said he has observed employees at Palí washing meat away and noted the stench from the supermarket. “Denunciations have been made but nothing has been done,” he said. 

But Yolanda Fernandez, manager of corporate issues for Palí, denied the accusations and affirmed, “Our water treatment plants are of a very high level.”

She explained that Walmart of Mexico and Central America, the corporation that owns Palí, tries to ensure that their stores and plants operate in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.  “In the case of Samara Palí, every six months we submit to laboratory exams to prove that we are doing things in the correct way.  According to the last diagnostic performed, our system is fulfilling all of the parameters established in the legislation in force for disposal and reuse of wastewaters.”   

One person who has denounced the situation is Domingo Arias, who affirms that the area by Lagarto River where the water comes out is frequented by dogs and vultures.  His concern is that chemicals and fecal matter could be dumped into the river, which feeds into the mangroves and the ocean.  He related that he denounced the situation a year ago to AyA (Acueductos y Alcantarillas— Water and Sewer) and that an official came and took samples but never followed up with Arias afterward.

“We should all do something so this improves,” stated Arias, noting the need to protect Samara as a tourist destination.  “People can come here without worrying,” he affirmed, pointing out advantages such as the natural wave break that makes Samara safe for swimmers. 

Victor Manuel Perez Campos, who works in reception and maintenance at Hotel Villas Pepitas, just down the road from Century 21 and Palí, said he personally called the Ministry of Health last summer to report contamination and accompanied officials from the Ministry of Health to show them the tubes.

He said they inspected the hotel’s water system and found everything to be normal, and he was told that the water from Palí is treated, but if that is the case, he questions why there is such a stench.
During the winter, the river washes the wastewaters away, Perez explained, but in the summer the waters draining from these tubes accumulate.  “It is foul-smelling,” he affirmed.  “There are people, children that bathe in the estuary.”

VON requested information from Zinnia Cordero Vargas, director of the Nicoya Ministry of Health and was informed that officials responded to a complaint in June of 2011 and inspected Palí’s wastewater treatment plant. 

“A sanitary order was issued to the establishment with orders that were fulfilled to date. The Samara Palí has a treatment plant that discharges into the Lagarto River, and the operational reports submitted before this institution meet the maximum discharge limits,” reported Cordero.


More Community News

New Bridge To Chinampas Inaugurated

With singing and dancing, chicharron and carne asada, on Saturday, January 12th the community of Chinampas celebrated the inauguration of a bridge that was three years in the making, according to Bonifacio Diaz, who lives in Chinampas and serves as syndic for the District of Samara.

Friendly Progress In Nosara For 2012

The non-profit group, Friends of Nosara, held their annual general meeting this Sunday January 6 at restaurant Marlin Bill's. The group has achieved some of their stated goals from 2012 and says that they will continue working towards them in the new year.

Summer School in Nosara            

Nosara summer school, better known as “Escuelita”, is starting this Monday January 7th and will last for 3 weeks. Kids and youth ages 5-14 can learn animation with film, gardening, singing, cooking, photo i illustration and handi crafts, all combined with games and sports.

Nosara Elected New ASADA Board

After several attempts to gather together a big enough group of the clients of the ASADA of central Nosara, the sufficient amount of people finally came to the meeting on Friday, December 7th in order to hold the election of the new administrative board. 

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