The work of sealing the garbage dump, located in the La Solana area, in the Sierra de Abanilla (a protected area), they began in 2015, after a subsidiary forced execution of the Valencian and Murcian autonomous administrations after the owners of the facility failed to comply with the restoration project that they were forced to carry out after the suspension of the activity in 2011 due to the sanctioning file filed by the Region of Murcia. In these six years of work to permanently seal the landfill, both administrations have invested, subsidiarily, 8.8 million euros (the majority, 6.5 million, has been assumed by the Region of Murcia, where 72% of the installation, and the rest the Valencian government, which completed the sealing work a long time ago). In this way, Valencia and Murcia definitively close the garbage dump, although now they will have to face the 6.3 million in which the cost of post-closure maintenance of the facility is estimated for the next 30 years. “It has been a laborious and complex work”, said this Tuesday the Minister of the Environment of the Region of Murcia, Antonio Luengo, who visited the landfill accompanied by the mayors of Orihuela, Emilio Bascuñana, and from Abanilla, José Antonio Blasco. The Regional Minister for the Environment, Mireia Mollà, could not attend the event due to other commitments.
The landfill occupies an area of 378,930 m², of which 279,947 correspond to the Region of Murcia and 98,983 to the Valencian Community. In the sealing of Vessel O (which occupies land in both Orihuela and Abanilla), the work consisted in the extension of a layer of clay material 40 cm thick, another one meter layer of topsoil, superficially enriched with compost , and the sowing of seeds of autochthonous species, as well as the execution of its gutters and rain gutters. “We should all be happy and satisfied that this achievement has been achieved,” said the Oriolano councilor, while his namesake of Abanilla stressed that “there are things that are inevitable or that could have been avoided but could not be avoided”, ignoring that the administrations looked the other way for many years despite the complaints and denunciations from the neighbors. Many municipalities in the Vega Baja and some Murcians, whose garbage was also managed by the businessman Ángel Fenoll, did very well with the very low price who paid to take their waste to this landfill, which caused few or none to raise their voices due to its controversial management.
Once the works have been completed, there is now surveillance and post-closure maintenance of the landfill, as well as the management of leachate, for 30 years, which is estimated at 6,326,325 euros to be paid by the Valencian and Murcian governments, which have opened a judicial procedure to claim from the owners the economic amount invested in the restoration and maintenance of installation. In this sense, both the mayors of Abanilla and Orihuela and the Murcian councilor Antonio Luengo They demanded that the central government allocate funds to help the autonomous administrations. “We are the victims, the towns of Abanilla and Orihuela, the Region of Murcia and the Valencian Community, of a misfortune and the Government has to help us,” said Bascuñana, who asked the executive of Pedro Sánchez “not to abandon us.” For his part, José Antonio Blasco regretted that the Ministry of Ecological Transition “is neither here nor expected”, while Antonio Luengo demanded his “necessary collaboration.”
What the Murcian counselor did not want to talk about is the investigation opened to his counsel by the Murcia Region Prosecutor’s Office for an alleged environmental crime, for the loss of leachate, after the complaints of the Seprona and the association Vertivega. It also did not clarify whether the administrations will request that the land pass into the public domain.
Leachate spills continue due to waterproofing problems
Cups 1 and 2 release toxic liquids, although the authorities assure that they are under control
One leachate river, now channeled, it still leaves the worst face of the landfill. This newspaper was able to verify that toxic liquids continue to flow due to the waterproofing problems of vessels 1 and 2 (with garbage buried up to 100 meters). A pipeline takes them to an emergency basin that pumps them to the 50,000 cubic meter basin that the RMurcia region built in 2015 to contain leachate. The technicians of the Ministry of Environment Murcia assured this newspaper that toxic liquids are controlled by having 9 pumps with 10 pumps running. However, the smell, which reaches neighboring towns, is still nauseating.
The pond, which is being monitored, currently contains 41,000 cubic meters of toxic liquids, although the technicians point out that there is no problem of clogging because the leachates that enter are less than those that evaporate, especially in summer. Despite the fact that the installation was to be provisional, to dam the toxic liquids accumulated in the different vessels during the sealing works, no one dares to predict when it will be dismantled. Only 7,500 cubic meters of leachate have been removed from there after DANA. But their removal is very expensive and the administrations are now negotiating where to take them after their removal.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.