Each additional fine decimates the village even more.
According to whistleblowers, the Hornád River is being polluted by sewage leaks. RTVS also received the initiative, pointing out the problem in the village of Spišský Štiavnik. Several sewers and treatment plants around the river are outdated. The meanders of Hornádu are in the Natura 2000 area of European importance and are part of the Slovak Paradise National Park.
The whistleblower claims that the maintenance of the wastewater treatment plant (WTP) in Spišský Štiavnik is not sufficient. He repeatedly drew attention to sewage leaking into the surrounding area. At the time we were filming at the outlet, the water didn’t smell and didn’t look cloudy.
“Throughout December, untreated sewage water flowed around the WWTP area and these are the remains of gray sludge, and the sewage water is also discharged directly into the Hornád River. There are the remains of shredded feces and toilet paper,” reported whistleblower Patrik Tomajko.
The environmental inspection dealt with several initiatives. Two procedures from 2022 have been completed. Laboratory analyzes showed an extraordinary deterioration of the waters in the Hornád River.
The report on pollution was prepared by editor Ivana Ratkovská:
“In both cases, we found a violation of the water law and imposed a fine of 3.5 thousand and 7 thousand euros on the municipality of Spišský Štiavnik,” informed the spokesperson of the Slovak Environmental Inspectorate, Dávid Vido.
Money is missing elsewhere
The village appealed against the decision. “We will have to pay the sanction only from public resources. And we will need that money again to be able to do something at the cleaning plant,” responded the mayor of Spišský Štiavnik Matúš Korheľ (Voice-SD).
The mayor explained that the treatment plant was reconstructed, but the capacity is not keeping up, especially after the rains. They are planning a project that would improve the situation, but they don’t have the money for it. In addition, they deal with uncollectible arrears for water and sewage, especially from socially dependent citizens.
“These investments are quite financially demanding, and if you have 20 or 30 percent non-payers in the village, it is difficult to find the money,” explained Matúš Korheľ.
Each additional fine decimates the village even more. The initiatives in Spišské Štiavnik are only the tip of the iceberg.
Somewhere it is even worse
“We dealt with that suggestion, but we did not find any significant pollution above the others. It should be emphasized that this is a problem of perhaps the entire section of Hornád from the source. Some municipalities still do not have wastewater treatment plants today, and the situation there is worse than in Spišské Štiavnik,” commented Tomáš Dražil, director of the Administration of NP Slovenský raj, on the situation.
There are still 1,700 municipalities in Slovakia that lack public sewerage and a wastewater treatment plant. And even where they have them, it is necessary to invest significantly in their restoration.
“ZMOS has been drawing attention to this problem for a long time, with the fact that in the past some concept of preparing investments in water pipes and sewers was interrupted,” said the chairman of ZMOS Jozef Božik
In a written statement, the Envirorezort promises a faster system for building public sewers. On March 31, the Environmental Fund will publish calls for projects for the protection and use of water for 53 and a half million euros.