The underground water reservoirs in the West Bank are in severe risk of contamination due to wastewater, a report published by the Environmental Protection Ministry, the Civil Administration and the Israeli Nature and National Parks Service (NPS), revealed earlier this week. According to the report, 58 million cubic-meters of untreated effluent are being pumped into the streams in the West Bank. The report sampled all of the streams in the West Bank for the very first time, as well as probed the efficiency of the sewage treatment centers in the area, in order to assess the damage caused to the environment and suggest possible solutions. The main problem, as indicated by the report, is the lack of proper treatment infrastructure: Raw wastewater from the West Bank cities of Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin and their adjacent villages are pumped either to sewage pits or local treatment facilities, where they undergo little to no treatment before being pumped out to the streams. The West Bank cities have several treatment infrastructure plans in the works, but most are still only on paper and the existing facilities seem unable to handle the load. The Israeli Nature and National Parks Service's environmental protection unit also found that in many cases, the effluent diverted to sewage pits is handled by unlicensed containers and dumped in the streams. The majority of the West Bank streams are seasonal ones, but their beds are lined with lime rock and dolomite, which is a sedimentary carbonate rock – both of which unfortunately allow for quick absorption of the wastewater into the ground. Cooperation virtually nonexistent The fault, however, is not all the Palestinians, as only 70% of the Jewish communities east of the Green Line are connected to treatment facilities. Moreover, illegal outposts and unauthorized settlement expansions are not connected to any wastewater treatment centers and are pumping effluent into sewage pits. The Israeli-Palestinian cooperation on wastewater management is virtually nonexistent, with only the West Bank city of Qalqilya, the west part of Bethlehem and about half of Tulkarem connected to Israeli treatment facilities. According to the Civil Administration and the NPS, the cooperation with the Palestinians on the matter is limited to fixing small, local problems, such as burst pipes but as far as the fundamentals issues, such as developing infrastructures go, they are not willing partners. Surprisingly, finding the budgets necessary to handle matters does not seem to be the problem: Creating an infrastructure which could both remedy the existing situation and avert future pollution is expected to cost nearly $200 million, but State, various international environmental groups and even the World Bank are willing to foot the bill. The problem, said sources in the NPS and the Civil Administration, is that politics seem to be overshadowing both sides' environmental needs, as the Palestinians see any such cooperation as a collaboration with their occupiers . So much so, in fact, that even the relatively simple solution of connecting Palestinians cities to auxiliary, rear-guard Israeli treatment pipelines, was deemed unacceptable. The only solution implemented so far has been impounding the wastewater in treatment facilities west of the Green Line.