Cala Galdana. Anatomy of some spillages

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Something could be changing in Cala Galdana, after decades of contaminating the stream. This is a problem that is shared by the old coastal urbanizations and that until now has cost too much to address because the pacts of silence were effective. Were, in the past.

The first step for urbanization of the area was in the sixties, when a road was built going towards this paradise formed around the mouth of the Algendar river.

Known as the Algendar River, because of the numerous fountains that poured into the gorge at a time when there was rain all year round, it separates the municipalities of Ferreries and Ciutadella. By 1970 there were already two large hotels being built, one in each municipality. It is said that the one in the middle of the beach and that connects the sandy level to the top of the high crag, avoided regulations by declaring that it had a basement and two floor levels (the top part that stands against the crag) and that the other nine floors were basements.

Then came other hotels, groups of apartments and villas, the occupation of the marsh area and a diversion made of the mouth of the river to the west. All done in the same way, with septic tanks often built allowing the leaking of dirty water into the ground, with some letting wastewater into the stream, with non-existent, or hardly existent, environmental regulations.

With time, a joint treatment plant located in the Ciutadella section would be considered. The current sewerage system collects all the waste water from the Ferreries section towards a pumping station taking it to the other side. In Serpentona different stations also receive residual water from the urbanization, pumping it around the stream and raising it to a higher area.

In the past, installations were made to make use of the water to the nearby Son Mestres. However, this did not work out. There had been a time when the wastewater fell down the rocks like a waterfall and finally an output was made for it taking it directly into the river.

There were repeated attempts in the nineties to transform the area into a sports marina but they were frustrated because the community got more organized in defence of the land. However, the last part of the river was dredged to allow the entrance and exit of more boats.

From the beginning, the river suffered problems from spillages coming from human habitations along it. Most of the fountains of the gorge dried up because wells were made further in the inland areas. It no longer rains as it used to. The water level of the stream is more static and continues to receive untreated wastewater. However, it seems that something has changed this year.

Besides people of the urbanization itself that always urge the public ministries and the ecological groups to provide immediate solutions to the problems of contamination, different attitudes are now beginning to be seen. People, apart from those with the infantile behaviour of diverting attention, understand that they have to be co-responsible for existing problems because the urbanization is on each side of the stream.

For some days there has been much movement linked with the world of wastewater. Inspections are now being made jointly and separately by the various ministries. There are many residents who are already fed up with not being able to enjoy nor being able to start businesses because a few people without any conscience.

A direct discharge of wastewater was found – and that includes solid materials as well as wastewater – coming from a group of apartments on the front line. Let us imagine how it was for those people who, with impunity, built a pipeline across the asphalt road, it is not known when, and then covered it with cement.

What is important is that it has been discovered and this irresponsible attitude is to be sanctioned, but the potential volume of discharge at this point does not seem to be able to explain the state of the river even if it is evident that it contributes to it.

The water that is ducted from the treatment plant is now highly processed and seems to show guarantees. It is necessary to keep watching and raising the alarm each time there is a new episode of sudden colour change in the water. Whether it is now in the summer or in the winter. The preponderance of these aggressive discharges must be ended and all those responsible must be identified.

We do not charge nature to be responsible for the stream, the posidonia or the ducks. The solution to the current problem is not to throw chlorine and kill the small amount of life that remains. On the contrary, it is necessary to promote the microbiological life to process the load of substances that have been discharged. Technicians of the treatment plant know how to deal with these things.

Let us see what will happen with the economic activities tied to tourism in the area. At the moment, judging by the types of vans observed in the area these days, what is certain is that the economy of the plumbing businesses is soaring. Perhaps this is a significant step in the right direction.