For years some150 army bases have poured their waste water into open areas, causing severe environmental damage. Now, after long-running dispute over budget, agreement reached to allocate NIS 400 million towards connecting bases to sewage systems by 2015. Environmental Protection Minister Erdan: Historic decision

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 05.25.10, 08:14 / Israel Activism

IDF bases that for years have been pouring waste water into open areas, thus contaminating water reservoirs and land, will finally be connected to sewage systems, according to an agreement between the Defense, Finance, National Infrastructure and Environmental Protection ministries.

On Sunday, following a long-running dispute, mainly over the project’s funding, the cabinet ministers received a copy of the agreement, according to which NIS 400 million ($104 million) will be allocated towards connecting the army bases to existing sewage systems.

Some of the money will be taken directly from the Defense Ministry’s budget, while the rest will be given out as a loan by the Environmental Protection Ministry.

The ministers have a week to submit their comments, and if there are no objections the agreement will be categorized as a government decision. The project is expected to be launched this year and completed by 2015.

The agreement also says that in cases where IDF bases cannot be connected to sewage systems, alternate solutions will be found.

Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said, “This is a historic decision which indicates that the state is beginning to take responsibility for the environmental damage it is causing. Connecting the IDF bases to sewage systems will prevent the contamination of water resources and land, and it will allow us to use waste water for irrigation. This will also save the country the money it spends on repairing the environmental damage,” he said.

During the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also addressed the issue, saying, “This is an important decision in the field of environmental protection. We will invest half a billion shekels in the project in order to prevent damage to the environment. Connecting the army bases to the sewage systems will also contribute to the health of the soldiers and commanders,” he said.