Tel Aviv's beaches were closed on Thursday after authorities had to deliberately discharge sewage into the seawater due to heavy rains straining the sewerage network.
According to the Interior Ministry, after the heavy rainfall in central Israel on Wednesday and the consequent failure of Tel Aviv’s sewage system, authorities decided to dump waste into the sea to prevent it from overflowing - which covered the area with residues of dirt, oils and animal carcasses among other contaminants.
Surfers and bathers were furious at the local authorities' unpreparedness to tackle the problem and the actions which left the water with a murky, black tone.
"The municipality did not prepare in advance and did not install filters in the sewer outlet openings leading to the sea,” said Meir, who frequents the city’s seashore often. This caused dirt and litter that was sitting in the pipes all summer to flow into the sea, there were rat carcasses there which were vomited into the water. These were 24 hours of environmental hell."
"Those who entered the water came out dizzy with a smell that clung to the body… Everyone knew this rain was coming, but they did nothing or prepare for it."
A surfer going by the name of Adam also lamented authorities' perennial failure to address the heavy rain issue.
"The sea is now black and smelly. No one go into the water. It is a failure that has been going on for years and no one is doing anything about it," he said. "It harms bathers, surfers and animals. It is simply criminal behavior towards the environment."
The Gush Dan wastewater treatment plant said in response this is a standard procedure which is carried out from time to time and has received all the required permits in accordance with the provisions of the law during stormy winter days.