Lake Nahuel Huapi has been receiving around 75 million litres of untreated sewage for the past three days due to the maintenance and removal of materials in the Elevator Station of the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Bariloche and environmentalist organisations have already filed for an amparo remedy to stop the spill.
According to the Cooperativa de Electricidad de Bariloche (CEB), which administers the plant, maintenance would continue until Wednesday.
Nevertheless, the environmental organization Árbol de Pie and Senator Magdalena Odarda filed a writ of amparo before Río Negro's provincial judiciary to halt work and prevent any future spills in the lake.
The accumulation of a large amount of solid waste in the pumping station severely conditions its normal operation due to the obstructions that are registered in the equipment that, in addition to causing breakage and premature wear in the equipment, cause a decrease in the flows admitted to the pump, explained CEB in a statement.
The current plant is surpassed in its capacity and it is expected that during 2019 the national government will arrange the tenders for the construction of a second one that would alleviate the scenario. The investment exceeds 300 million pesos (around 8 million US dollars).
The current plant was designed for a population of approximately 100,000 inhabitants, which translates into the treatment of approximately 25 million liters per day, but today the city hosts over 140,000 inhabitants.
Our [legal move] is to prevent the throwing of sewage fluids now and in the next few years, said a spokeswoman for Árbol de Pie.