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Nové problémy s kompostováním kalu z ČOV v Athénách

Nové problémy s kompostováním kalu z ČOV v Athénách

Landfill to close

WORKERS at Athens' only landfill announced on September 22 that on September 27 they will abstain from their duties until all sludge at the capital's biological sewage plant - currently deposited for processing at the site - is removed. Should the workers stick to their guns, over 5,500 tonnes of household waste a day will pile up on Athenians' doorsteps.

George Hardas, the workers' president, explains to the Athens News their grievances. "Staff at the landfill complain of breathing problems and say the stench is unbearable and that their eyes are watering. Local residents are expressing similar complaints too."

The sludge is a byproduct of Athens' biological sewage plant situated on the island of Psyttaleia off the coast of Piraeus. The plant - Europe's largest and most advanced - purifies thousands of tonnes of waste water every day and pours them into the sea. The remaining solid waste could be dried off and then either sent to industries to be burned for energy, or else be buried.

But the process to award a contract for a planned drying facility commenced only on September 5, and the new plant won't be completed before 2008. A recycling plant that was meant to absorb 300 tonnes of the 700 Psyttaleia produces daily and turn it into compost is yet to start operating properly despite the fact that it was slated to begin operation in 2001.

As a result, the environment ministry decided temporarily to allow the processing of the sludge into compost using a different, open-air technique in the Ano Liosia landfill. The sludge is mixed with wood and earth and let to mature into compost in the open. Attica's authorities have reportedly received over 7,000 complaints from residents since the process started in July.

Last week, the company that runs the project, Bilfinger Berger and the Association of Attica's Municipalities and Communities (ESDKNA), which manages Ano Liosia, said the pilot scheme had been completed and no more sludge would be processed for a few days, until the results were appraised. The move seems driven by a desire to assuage public and employee outrage but it looks almost certain that the processing will have to restart before long as an alternative has yet to be found.

The European Commission is about to refer Greece to the European Court for storing over 100,000 tonnes of sludge on Psyttaleia itself. According to Athens News sources, the commission will expand its review and examine the legality of all sludge processing and depositing methods that Greece has employed over the years. For instance, sludge was dumped illegally in an uninsulated hole in Ano Liosia for years.

"It is not a matter of whether the sludge issue will be referred to court but simply a matter of when and how," a commission official tells the MK, Athens News.


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