Sewage in the Axarquia

SPAIN has been fined €12 million by the EU for failing to deal with its sewage water properly – and the majority of offending towns are in Andalucia.

The European Court of Justice announced the penalty after ‘prolonged failure’ to comply with a European directive on urban waste water collection and treatment.

It comes after a 2011 judgement found there were still 43 towns with 15,000 people or more which failed to meet EU standards, despite member states vowing to have adequate systems in place from 2001.

Spain will now have to pay €11 million for every six-month period of delay in improving the municipalities’ water treatment systems.

Seven of the nine offending towns are in Andalucía, comprising Matalascanas, Alhaurin el Grande, Isla Cristina, Tarifa, Coin, Nerja and Barbate.

The other two are in Asturias (Gijon Este) and the Canary Islands (Valle de Guimar).

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But Spain’s Ecological Transition Ministry said it will be impossible to meet EU standards before 2022, although it did say a new plan was being drafted.

The problem lies in the fact that in most cases, local authorities are in charge of water treatment.

In Andalucia, four cases fall to the Junta while three to the national government.

The EU will be checking in every six months to assess what progress is being made.

If none is made until 2022, it could mean fines totalling €88 million.

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