Will the story with pollution of Varna Lake continue in 2021?

Photo: Facebook profile of Nikolay Kapitanov

The outpouring of 3 million cubic meters of fecal water in Varna Lake after the accident with the underwater pipeline that connects the neighborhoods “Asparuhovo” and “Galata” with the waste water treatment plant in the village of Topoli has become one of the landmark news of 2020. Not only because of the enormous pollution, but also because for eight months the authorities were hiding from the society what was happening without even taking the necessary measures.

Is the saga finally come to an end?

The city’s deputy mayor, Hristo Ivanov, said in September (about a year after the pipe was broken) that the pipeline was already connected to the Topoli waste water treatment plant. The pollution of Varna Lake with wastewater from the dirty canals of two neighborhoods – “Asparuhovo” and “Galata”, as well as from the villa areas around them has been stopped, it was announced on September 18 by the Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water (RIEW) in Varna. After an inspection carried out at the request of ViK – Varna, it was found that the sewage pumping station “Asparuhovo” was restored to normal operation and wastewater is transported to the treatment plant in the village of Topoli through the repired pipeline across the lake.

As of that moment, however, the pipe had not yet been buried and the deputy mayor promised that this will be done by November 30th. It is already the mid of December and there is still no answer to the question whether the “fecal saga” of Varna will finish this year or it will continue in the next – 2021. Intention to seek an answer to this question under the Access to Information Act was stated some time ago by the Varna municipal councilor with a strong civil position Stella Nikolova. However, she, herself, also doubted whether she would get an answer to her questions, given the failed earlier attempts to do so.

Quieter than the grass

In the spring of this year it became clear that the authorities had hidden from the public information about a broken pipe months ago, laid at the bottom of Lake Varna, through which wastewater passes from the dirty canals of Asparuhovo and Galata and the villa areas around them.

Authorities understood about the accident in August 2019. This provoked the protests of citizens in front of the Municipal building, and the councilors from “Democratic Bulgaria” demanded the convening of an extraordinary session of the Municipal Council – Varna.

However, a meeting of the council was not convened, and it was only in July when a meeting of the environmental commission was held, in which the municipal councilors and citizens were explained that nothing terrible had happened, and the sea water, according to the local health inspectorate, even on the beach of “Asparuhovo” has excellent indicators, despite the spilled 3 million cubic meters of fecal water.

In May, however, citizens reported for tons of dead fish, but the responsible agencies said it was not faecal water but proliferating algae that reduced oxygen levels in the water thanks to the “good” environment they found in it.

For the “emergency” repair of the pipe started in May and assigned to “Hydrostroy”, and redirected by them to “Hydroremont”, the state allocated BGN 1.3 million, and the Mayor of Varna Ivan Portnih promised that it would be completed within 45 days, although the term stipulated in the contract was 3 months.

In the middle of the summer it became clear that the Russian digger, who is digging Varna Lake for 350 million, will dig the trench in which the pipe should be buried and therefore the repair will be delayed, and the deputy mayor said that so far BGN 390 thousand of these 1.3 million were paid for the pipe.

At the same time, the prosecutor’s office is still investigating the combined 4 files on the fecal tube case and has not found anyone to blame for what happened.


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