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Nicoya Sewage Treatment Plant May Pollute the River Grande

By Oliver Perez Picado


Residents of the Matabuey neighborhood in the city of Nicoya expressed their displeasure with the foul smells emanating from the neighboring sewage treatment pools from the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (AyA) as well as the treated waters discharged into the River Grande, which runs about 50 meters from the pools.

The neighbors have requested an intervention with Aya and the Ministry of Health, and VON contacted those officials for an explanation.

The system to treat the wastewaters is composed of a primary treatment that consists of a group of traps that separate solid elements. In the next stages, the water and residues pass on to the system of pools, where they remain in contact with the air, experiencing a process of oxidation and sedimentation, thus transforming the organic material into other types of nutrients that go on to form a bacterial ecosystem.

After this process, the residual waters are released into nature in a form in which it can be absorbed without danger to the environment. The treatment pools were built in 1976, and today they barely have the capacity to treat the wastewater of 22% of the population of Nicoya, about 7 thousand people.


In addition, ecologists like the El Tucan group of Nicoya and neighbors bordering the River Grande have alerted the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (Minaet, the entity in charge of the conservation of natural resources) about the potential environmental contamination brought about by the sewage treatment plant.

"We recognize that the sewage pools were here before us in this place, but those who gave us these houses should have taken into account that this was going to harm us. It's inconceivable that this polluted water reaches the river," declared Florencio Espinoza Espinoza, neighbor of the treatment facility.

VON went around the margins of the River Grande and could verify the presence of green-colored water several meters below where the treated water falls through a small canal. Robert Quesada, who lives about 200 meters from the river, said, "They have to see that they are killing this river. There are people who come to swim and they don't realize that there's a latent contamination. The ministry of health should get involved in the matter. We can't be in this situation," Quesada complained.

The environmentalists and the neighbors set off the alarm in the population of Matambuey, since the effluents are pulled down river. The aqueduct of Matambuey is supplied by the tributary of the river. They protested to the chief of Aya, Larry Orozco Jimenez, to initiate actions to prevent the leakage from reaching the river.


VON contacted Orozco Jiménez, who said the discharge is regulated by the Ministry of Health. "Everything is given within what is normal, because in the pools of oxidation, the water is treated and later this liquid has to be discharged and it has to end up somewhere. This type of water that is discharged is regulated by the Ministry of Health. We are regularly sending a report to Health about the treatment that is carried out," Orozco stated.

Regarding this treatment, Orozco said that AyA acquired a property adjoining the two pools at the end of 2010 with the purpose of giving a better treatment to the wastewaters.


More Regional News

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About 60 people met in Samara’s community hall on Thursday, June 23, with Mayor Marcos Jimenez and police officials Angel Araya Cordero, director of police for Guanacaste, and Dennis Garcia, in charge of the police’s community security program for the canton of Nicoya. Their aim was to air concerns and look for viable ways to improve security in Samara.

Woman Died Falling into a Creek

About 60 people met in Samara’s community hall on Thursday, June 23, with Mayor Marcos Jimenez and police officials Angel Araya Cordero, director of police for Guanacaste, and Dennis Garcia, in charge of the police’s community security program for the canton of Nicoya. Their aim was to air concerns and look for viable ways to improve security in Samara.

Samareños will march asking to continue with peace and tranquility

Members of the community of Samara agreed to perform a march this Sunday, the 19th, starting at 11 a.m., leaving from the Catholic church, marching around the front of the Evangelical church, the school and ending in front of the Public Force.

Nosareños Threats to Close the Main Road

Tired of waiting for the government to respond to their demands, the Nosareños patience seems to have come to an end. At a meeting held on Saturday June 11, several members of the community agreed to step up pressure if President Laura Chinchilla doesn’t take action and respond to a letter that will detail the most urgent problems that concern the people of this area.

Machinery Arrives in Nosara to Provide Road Maintenance

Roadworking equipment arrived this past Friday June 10th  to begin repairing the 30 km section between Nosara and Samara. The National Roads Board (CONAVI) deployed the equipment provided by San Antonio construction company.

Road to Nosara is Impassable
The MOPT remains silent

There is great concern among residents and drivers in Garza, Guiones and Nosara due to the bad road conditions and the fact that no work has been done towards their improvement for over three months. As a result of the rainfall during this past few days, the road has become impassable.

Sexual Violence in Las Huacas Under Investigation

On May 22, around midnight, a woman, who is over 50 years old, was sexually assaulted at a house in Section EE, Guiones, where she was housesitting for her friends.

Tourist Police Could be Closed During June

At a meeting held at restaurant Casa Tucan by the Nosara Security Association on Saturday, May 28, Agnes Pinherio, the president of the association, said the Tourist Police of Guiones Beach may be closed unless the association can collect enough donations for its office maintenance. While last year the budget was more than $17,000, this year, only $5,500 has been collected.

Ministry of Health Sets End of July as Deadline for the Dump to Continue Operating

Improvements to Nosara's landfill must be made before the end of July; however, if no concrete efforts to improve it are made, the Ministry of Health will proceed to close it down. This was the order given by Nicoya's Ministry of Health engineer, Gabriel Sotelo González, on Wednesday, May 18th.

Are we Ready for Heavy Winter Rains?

Last year's rains were destructive, leaving some communities cut off when bridges collapsed and unfortunate families seeking shelter elsewhere as their homes flooded. Since then, various groups have been examining needs to better prepare communities for the next round of heavy rains.

The Brothers of Nosara Representative are under investigation for tree cuttings

On March 27th, 2011, two officers from MINAET Ostional (Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications) found 20 pochote trees stumps, which were supposedly cut illegally on a property near the Nosara dump. Among the parties involved, which included two brothers of the Nosara Representative, Marcos Avila, none had permission to cut, transport, or sell the trees.

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