In this period, EPSAR has only allocated 120,000 euros, despite obtaining a surplus of 12 million euros in the last decade for the sanitation fee
Benidorm carries out a new improvement in the WWTP network and raises the investment made since 2015 to 5.3 million
Benidorm City Council is going to make "urgently" a new investment in the sanitation and purification network, in this case with the acquisition of a submersible centrifugal pump for pumping stations 2 and 3 for an amount of 282,855.66 euros . As detailed by the Councilor for the Water Cycle, José Ramón González de Zárate, the acquisition of this pump “raises the investment since 2015 to 5.3 million euros in the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) and in the sanitation network made directly by the City Council or through the improvements obtained in the facility management contract ”.
In the same period, the Public Entity for Wastewater Sanitation (EPSAR) dependent on the Generalitat Valenciana "has only invested 120,207.66 euros", just "2.26% of the total investment" that at the end of the year will have done in these facilities since 2015. And this despite the fact that in the last decade EPSAR has obtained “a surplus of 12 million euros from the sanitation fee provided by citizens of Benidorm”; and despite also the agreement signed with the City Council in 2017 that forced the entity to make investments in the WWTP that "have not even been tendered."
According to the data provided by the mayor, collected in a report from the Engineering department, between 2011 and 2019 the sanitation fee provided by Benidorm amounts to 50,966,917.34 euros, while the cost of maintaining the WWTP, pumping stations and collectors that EPSAR has had to assume was 38,987,427.95 euros. These figures show a positive balance for EPSAR of 12 million euros, at a rate of “more than 1.2 million euros per year”.
De Zárate explained that the Valencian Sanitation Law establishes that “part of that surplus generated by the management of the Benidorm WWTP –between 20 and 30% - must be used for the maintenance of municipal facilities that are in deficit, but not the 100% ”. "There is at least 8.5 million euros that could have been allocated to investments to improve the system and network of Benidorm and something that has not happened." Thus, he assured that "what EPSAR is doing to citizens of Benidorm, and also to the municipalities of l’Alfàs del Pi and La Nucia, is bloody."
The councilor has stressed that this lack of investment implies a “withdrawal of functions by EPSAR”, and has stated that “if Benidorm had not invested more than 5 million euros in the network and sanitation facilities we would have had very serious problems. serious in the city ”, among them, wastewater discharges to the beaches and the sea. Some environmental problems for which the City Council would have had to answer as the owner of the treatment plant.
Given the situation of "under-financing of municipal facilities" pointed out by the technicians in their reports, De Zárate has announced that "we are going to raise our voices." Thus, apart from the acquisition of the new centrifugal pump –whose cost “we will try to pass on to the Generalitat” -, the local government will raise a motion to the next plenary session to “ask the Valencian Courts to modify the regional law so that the local are the ones that manage the sanitation fee ”.
The Councilor for the Water Cycle has stressed that "the spirit of Benidorm is to maintain the principle of solidarity", but also to be able to have the necessary resources to ensure the proper functioning "of our sanitation system".
Municipal funds blocked
De Zárate recalled that "in 2016, the vice president Mónica Oltra said that investments were going to be made in all the treatment plants of the Community". However, apart from the installation of a magnetic levitation turbocharger - an action valued at 120,207.66 euros - Benidorm WWTP "received zero euros in the years 2018, 2019 and 2020".
The councillor explained that "while the EPSAR investment has not arrived, the City Council has consigned in the successive budgets the part that corresponded to contribute of the works and improvements" committed and included in the agreement. At the moment, "those funds collected in the 2020 municipal budget are blocked" and "we cannot have them" because "although we know that they are not going to tender any work, they do not notify us either."