Residents Demand Action Over Hundreds of Dead Fish in Yarkon

The ‘Seven Station’ point where the Yarkon and Ayalon Rivers converge. (Gideon Markowicz/Flash90)

Residents of Ramat Gan and north Tel Aviv who live near the Yarkon River have reported seeing hundreds of dead fish floating on the waterway in recent days. Environmental officials who were alerted have attributed the death of the fish to a recent influx of sewage and untreated wastewater. The officials are trying to determine the source of the bad water.

While the specific source of the sewage is not yet known, the reason it was able to flow into the Yarkon is well known to authorities: A sewage treatment facility that is supposed to purify sewage before it flows back into the Yarkon is overloaded. Large numbers of new residents in the Sharon region, whose towns have hooked up to the facility, are overtaxing it, and as a result more sewage gets by untreated.

Activists have demanded that the Environment Ministry and the Yarkon River Authority, which is directly responsible for the facility, take action. Besides improving the capacity of the facility, the activists suggest that more spring water from the sources of the Yarkon be allowed to flow into the river itself instead of being diverted to the National Water Carrier, the better to balance the percentage of recycled and “natural” water in the river.

In a statement, the Authority said that it was “working to reduce the ecological damage that such incidents incur. The Yarkon is open to impact from numerous sources, and there are a number of improvements that must be made to facilities that feed water into the river.”