RAW sewage is being pumped out in three places just off the shores of Nerja, an investigation by the Guardia Civil has revealed.
The three pipes, located at Burriana beach, Torrecilla beach and just off the Maro cliffs, have created untreated sewage clumps measuring 20 metres by 3 metres, along with nine-tonne ‘mountains’ of wet wipes.
The pipes off Burriana and Torrecilla are located at a depth of 40-50 metres, but the pipe just off Maro-Cerro Gordo Cliffs Natural Area can be seen ‘by kayak’.
The pipes were investigated by the environmental protection arm of the Guardia Civil, Seprona, alongside scientists from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography.
The discharge of the pipes, which were investigated last summer, have been described as an ‘uncontrolled underwater dump´ by Seprona, according to reporting in the Diario Sur.
The Institute of Toxicology in Sevilla has also analysed water samples and concluded that the presence of fecal bacteria poses a risk of gastroenteritis and skin infections.
Operation Vastum, which means rubbish tip in Latin, was launched in November 2017 into public officials flouting rules that prohibit dumping of raw sewage into rivers and seas.
Spain has been fined by the EU for such breaches of environmental protection laws in the past.
But Nerja mayor Rosa Arrabal said the treatment of waste was ‘a municipal responsibility only once the infrastructure is in place, but not before’.
A total of 16 officials have been questioned by the Guardia Civil, in both Coin and Nerja, but blame has been attributed to the Junta de Andalucia for not providing treatment plants.
One plant began construction in 2014 in Nerja and should have been running three years ago, but has been stalled due to financial problems and differences within the council.
Another waste treatment plant servicing Coin is presumed to be entering a test phase shortly, having been started 2013.
The matter has been passed to a judge who will continue the investigation.