"The Palestinian Authority has methodically committed a disgusting offense against us over a long period of time," a senior engineer at Israel's Water and Sewage Authority said Tuesday. "Not only have they hindered the building of sewage treatment plants, but they've intentionally streamed massive flows of waste into Israel's streams and rivers."
The engineer said that for many years now industrial plants in Palestinian Authority territory have streamed massive quantities of heavy industrial waste into Israel. Stone and marble quarries in Hebron are particularly to blame. The waste has caused serious damage to Israeli sewage treatment plants and rivers in the Negev region.
"The lives of thousands of residents of Beer Sheva and surrounding towns have become insufferable due to the sewage that gushes out to the wadis and creates stagnant pools of water which turn into breeding grounds for particularly aggressive species of mosquitoes," said Mark Lautman, a spokesman for the Neve Noy neighborhood, which is located near the Beer Sheva Stream.
Tests carried out by Israel's Water Authority, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and other environmental organizations reveal that many streams in Judea and Samaria have turned into channels for crude industrial waste characterized by a high concentration of pollutants.
The wastewater seeps below ground level and pollutes ground water and springs, harming the quantity and quality of drinking water. In addition, there is serious damage to ecosystems.
For Negev residents, the major cause of distress is the wastewater that pours out of 100 nearby quarries, sawmills and marble-stone grinders operating in Hebron, most of which are illegal and carry leachates straight to the streams.
"Approximately 3 million residents face serious environmental hazards due to quarry activity and the lack of sewage treatment plants in the Palestinian Authority," said Bilha Givon, director of Sustainable Development for the Negev.