The Ministry of Health ordered the closure of Palmachim Beach, south of Tel Aviv, due to effluent that may also contaminate the drinking water coming from desalination plants in the area.
The popular beach may remain closed after the beginning of the season in April.
After a lengthy environmental fight, the discharge of sewage from the Gush Dan sewage purification plants into the sea was stopped. As a result, large amounts remained of waste that had not been processed for agricultural use. The Water Authority was the entity that was supposed to have dealt with this problem, such as by setting up water reservoirs to store the excess water.
However, it went for a less environmentally friendly solution: dumping the water in Nahal Sorek, a large drainage basin. Representatives of the Ministry for Environmental Protection signed off on this plan. As a result, the black water flowed to the sea, bringing with it a discernible foul odor.
The Ministry of Health fears that the effluent may also affect the functioning of the largest desalination plant on the Sorek.