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  • ESG delighted re Sewage Treatment Progress 30.01.18

    ESG Press Release

    Sewage Treatment Plant announcement

    Key words: Sewage Treatment Plant   Reference to ESG objectives on this issue


    The ESG is obviously delighted to hear today’s announcement regarding the awarding of the contract for our much needed Sewage Treatment Plant.

    It has been a core objective of the group and we have lobbied for this for over 15 years following the matter very closely. (see below for link to our list of objectives dated 2017 and Section on Sewage Treatment)

    We look forward to discussing this further with the Minister for the Environment and his team and will be interested to learn more details about the project.




    “9. SEWAGE TREATMENT – this project saw a tender awarded in early 2015 but has not progressed since. It is not acceptable that we continue to dump our sewage into the sea and is also illegal under EU law. It also weakens our case to fight Western Beach sewage. The ESG will be campaigning to see construction for this facility confirmed and started during 2017

    We advocate for anaerobic digestion process to be included in the new treatment facility, aiding in odour reduction and converting waste to heat very efficiently”

    ESG EU and Sewage 10th May 2017


    The ESG has campaigned and lobbied for a sewage treatment plant since 2003. The issue is still clearly unresolved as we now face fines from the EU, legitimately so since we were warned, via the UK, of infringement proceedings back in 2009.

    The technical aspects for this facility have been studied and realised under the current administration and the group hopes that steps will now follow to set it up without further delay. There is no question that this is an important environmental issue for Gibraltar that has to be resolved.

    What is also a worry for the ESG is that present developments indicate that infringement proceedings from the EU can several years to result in action, and that therefore, the Western Beach sewage issue, affected by La Linea storm drains, herself also charged recently with infringement proceedings, is still some years off from being similarly charged. This, despite the immediate and highly impacting nature of the sewage contamination, which has directly polluted a public beach for the past 7 years in a cross border situation.

    However, public and political pressure is fortunately resulting in significant improvements in bathing water quality at Western Beach in the first few months of 2017. What is not known is if this is a temporary reprieve or the result of infrastructural works already carried out to correct the 2010 diversion.


    The ESG will continue to press for progress on both local and cross border water treatment facilities.

    ESG on Sewage Treatment 22nd March 2017

     ESG Press Release

    Sewage Treatment Plant

    22nd March 2017



    ESG members have expressed concern about the apparent slow-down in the progress made by Government regarding the Sewage Treatment Plant.


    After awarding the tender in 2015 there have been no further signs that this project is getting underway. The group will be taking this up directly with Government and it will be one of our key objectives for 2017.


    This and other issues are contained in a newly produced list of Objectives for 2017 that will be published shortly.




    ESG on high Sewage Contamination at Western Beach 250816

    ESG on Western Beach Sewage Contamination

    25th August 2016


    As pollution levels continue to spike at Western Beach during July and August, the ESG urges beachgoers to avoid bathing in that beach. Indeed the red flag has been up for a while now and for good reason.


    It is clear that closure of this popular beach will be highly regrettable but the data on Government’s own monitoring site is there for all to see and highlights levels of E Coli and Intestinal enterococci, that have been peaking in July and especially August this year that should result in closure of the beach for the sake of public health.


    The “norms” or permissible levels for these microorganisms run at

    < 500 parts per 100ml for E Coli, and

    <185 parts per 100ml for Intestinal Enterococci


    In July, data shows that these levels were breeched on numerous occasions, and even on continuous days, with exceptional readings of 18,300 obtained for E Coli on the 20th July. That was not just slightly polluted; it was over 36 times the acceptable water quality.


    We move on to August and note that after a brief clear period of two weeks Western Beach is once again showing exceptional high levels of sewage contamination. Examples are 72600 parts per 100ml for E Coli, which is 145 times the legally permitted level. This was recorded on the 17th August but has since seen constant pollution with off the scale readings of Intestinal enterococci at 10,875 on the 18th Aug, and further daily and exceptional spikes of 20,300 and 21,750 parts per 100ml on the 19th Aug. These readings mean values of 58, 109 and 117 times the acceptable water quality. There is no new data posted since then and flag remains red.


    This abject deterioration in the bathing water quality at Western Beach during this summer is an aberration in a situation, which is now commonly known to occur year round but is better controlled by La Linea during the bathing season. Of course it’s understood that the persisting mountains of seaweed afflicting this beach are also causing their own considerable problems. But this cannot mar the underlying problem of sewage contamination, which is worsening and should direct the authorities to take the necessary action. Indeed advantage could be taken over the better relations with cross border authorities to find and implement a solution once and for all.


    To the ESG it is clear that unless the source of the current contamination can be identified and stopped, the high levels of sewage pollution confirmed at this beach should result in its closure for the protection of public health.

    The ESG will continue to press the EU, our MEPs and Government to battle for our beach, which is an important community amenity, special marine environment and used by many families over the past decades.

    ESG urges the public to visit the Environmental Agency Website; click on monitoring and check water data on all beaches – (http://environmental-agency.gi/environmental_monitoring.htm)

    Government awards contract for Sewage Treatment

    The ESG welcomes Governments’s announcement yesterday that it has awarded the contract for proper treatment of our sewage waters. This has been on our wishlist for many years and an issue we have long campaigned on. Therefore we are very pleased to hear of this development and further hope to see the completion of this project as soon as possible.

    Sewage Affecting Gibraltar Beaches

    ESG Press Release
    Sewage threat on the rise?
    6th June 2012

    With bathing season upon us, and the community heading for the beaches it is important to remain vigilant and aware of the continued actual and potential threat of the sewage pollution affecting the northern beaches of Gibraltar from La Linea town.

    If one checks the Environmental Agency website today it appears that Western Beach could be safe for bathing. However, a word of warning that the sewage is now being displaced towards eastern side beaches rendering the ONLY two beaches in the whole of Andalucía to be out of action for bathing purposes. These beaches are located immediately to the north of Eastern Beach and the ESG is calling upon Govt to increase sampling as a matter of urgency to verify water quality closer to the airport runway. Marine and ambient environments do not recognise frontiers.

    It is also reasonable to think that the displaced sewage could return to Western Beach at any given moment if pressure to open east side beaches grows, or if sudden rainfall were to occur. Therefore Western Beach should, in the groups view, remain closed until such time as La Linea has addressed the existing and very real problems she has in this regard, fully explained in the links included in this statement.

    Just this weekend Spanish press carried two articles which show an increasingly deteriorating situation, and one, that we, in Gibraltar, need to take heed of if we are to afford maximum public health protection (see links below).

    Last week the ESG received updates from both the EC and Sir Graham Watson on their efforts to secure some kind of resolution from the Spanish authorities to this problem. Now two years on and counting the ESG affirms it will continue to lobby as much as it can on this issue until this is resolved.

    • For current Gibraltar beach data visit:

    • See latest articles in Spanish press on this issue:



    Western Beach sewage levels continue to be high and of concern. Checking out the Environmental Agency website confirms levels of EColi and coliforms to be going through the roof.

    Check out:-

    The ESG understands that the new Government of Gibraltar is addressing this situation. The ESG will also be highlighting the deteriorating water quality to MEP Sir Graham Watson who has worked so hard on this issue on our behalf in Brussels to date.

    240212 – ESG urges the Chief Minister to raise the issue of Sewage when meeting la Linea Mayor today

    24th February 2012

    “The ESG continues to be very concerned about the high levels of raw sewage at Western Beach. A visit to the Env Agency website at:

    http://www.environmental-agency.gi/beachresult.php?beachid=6 confirms the problem is severe and needs to be dealt with.

    Given the Chief Minister is meeting with La Linea Mayor today to discuss cross border issues, we urge him to please raise this issue as a matter of priority.”


    Visit Gibraltar Environmental Agency website at :- http://www.environmental-agency.gi/beachresult.php?beachid=6

    With levels of sewage still registering high the ESG hopes that Government will be taking action to address this problem before the weather improves and people take to the seas to cool off!
    We shall continue to monitor the situation and will call on Governemnt and Brussels to do whatever is necessary to tackle this problem once and for all

    Govt makes statement re Sewage


    Saturday, 12th November 2011

    La Linea storm drain problem continues


    Gibraltar Government has declared that the quality of the bathing waters at Western Beach is subject to deterioration at any time and without warning. In a statement yesterday, they said this was due to the discharges from the storm drain constructed by the Spanish authorities in La Linea. Discharges and the contamination they cause can be heavily influenced by the quantity and duration of any rainfall.

    A spokesman for the Ministry for Environment said: “Though the official bathing season has ended, and there is no EU requirement to do so, the quality of the bathing waters at Western Beach will continue to be monitored weekly and the results displayed on the Environmental Agency website:-


    “The public are asked to note that the water quality cannot be guaranteed, that these results are published for guidance purposes only, and that weekly monitoring means that the results shown on the website could be up to six days old. If the latest monitoring results show elevated levels, users of Western Beach are advised not to swim or paddle and to restrict their activities to areas of dry sand away from the seashore.

    “The public needs to be particularly vigilant following any period of rainfall, as this can cause the quality of the bathing waters at Western Beach to deteriorate rapidly.

    Beach users should not swim or paddle until such time as they have checked the website and verified that the results of the bathing water quality monitoring taken after the rainfall in question show that the bathing water quality is or has returned to acceptable levels.

    “The foregoing information is being published on a public notice at Western Beach.

    Further advice on these monitoring results can be obtained from the EnvironmentalAgency during normal working hours on Tel 20070620.”