According to Oslo II Accords, both sides must agree on water infrastructure projects.

About 13 percent of wastewater generated by the settlements of Judea and Samaria flow in the form of raw sewage directly into the ground or into insecure outdoor cesspits, a new state-commissioned report has revealed.

This percentage, however, still pales in comparison to the 96% figure of raw sewage being released into the environment by Palestinian villages and towns, the Water Authority said.

The new report, called a “Survey of Sewage Collection and Treatment Facilities in Israeli population in Judea and Samaria in 2012,” aims to advance solutions for sewage and reclaimed wastewater in the region, to reduce pollution from environmental contaminants.

Conducted by the hydrological research and surveys arm of the Israel Nature and Park’s Authority’s environmental unit, the survey was cosponsored by the civil administration and the Environmental Protection Ministry.

In addition to revealing the 13% chunk of raw settler sewage emanating from the region, the report identifies that the sewage of about 28% of the settlers is being sent to processing facilities that are either malfunctioning or entirely defunct.

The survey examined 311 sewage collection terminals and treatment facilities, and 154 sewage contributors: settlements, industrial zones and public sites. In addition, the report looks at the volume of wastewater coming from each settlement, the volume of wastewater collected at each facility and the end solutions for reclaimed wastewater, such as agricultural and landscaping irrigation.

In a region containing approximately 352,170 settlers, only the sewage of 71% of this population – 249,635 residents – is treated in the 54 completely intact sewage treatment facilities that exist for the Israeli-administered portions of the region, the survey said.

The remaining sewage of about 28% of the Judea and Samaria settler population heads to 39 facilities – 19 of which are not fully functional and 20 of which are entirely inactive.

Five sewage treatment facilities in Israel proper also receive some wastewater from the settlements, the survey explained.

The total volume of wastewater produced by the Israeli population of Judea and Samaria is estimated to be about 17.1 million cubic meters per year. Of this total, approximately 2.2 – or 13% – is annually discharged to the environment in raw form through neglect or by absorption in underground cesspits, the report explained. About 1.5 of this 2.2 is discharged in raw form due to absence of, or inactivity of a treatment site.

The other 700,000 cu.m. being released to the environment does so after receiving initial treatment only in septic pits or cesspits.

Most of the wastewater discharges are occurring in areas of high hydrological sensitivity – about 2 per year – and about 180,000 cu.m. per year and 190,000 cu.m. per year are flowing in medium and low hydrological sensitivity zones, respectively, according to the report.

The volume of wastewater treated in plants in Judea and Samaria is estimated to be about 14.9 per year, with approximately 92.8% of that treatment happening in biological- mechanical secondary wastewater treatment plants. Only about 7.2% of that total volume is undergoing treatment in stateof- the-art tertiary sewage treatment centers, where a disinfecting process is carried out, the report said, noting that facility upgrades are ongoing.

Of the treated wastewater, 14.7 per year are reused, with 64% of the water irrigating agriculture and landscapes. For the sake of comparison, in Israel proper, about 86% of treated wastewater is reused in such irrigation, the report stated. The remaining treated wastewaters are discharged in a variety of basins, mostly in highly sensitive hydrological areas.

Out of the 73 completely and semi active sewage treatment plants in Judea and Samaria, the report researchers only took samples at 35 of them, but generated findings of concern.

Chloride concentrations of higher than 250 milligrams per liter were measured in about 50% of samples and nitrogen concentrations higher than 25 mg. per liter were measured in about 90% of the volumes samples.

Meanwhile, concentrations of biological oxygen demand lower than 30 mg. per liter were measured in 90% of the samples, while concentrations of suspended solids were measured between 10 and 100 mg. per liter in about 80% of the samples, the survey said.

“It is necessary to promote appropriate sewage solutions in cooperation and in coordination with the various relevant authorities, in order to prevent the flow of sewage and effluents into the environment,” the report concluded.

Calling for better pipe, pumping station and sewage treatment facility maintenance, the authors also stressed that much more use of reclaimed wastewater for agricultural irrigation in Judea and Samaria must occur. Meanwhile, the survey also called for expanding treated wastewater quality sampling, as well as expansion of data collection on wastewater at industrial zones, army bases and settler outposts – in order to acquire “a more complete picture of the sewage treatment for the Judea and Samaria population.”

In response to the report, Water Authority spokesman Uri Schor said that some of the figures were inaccurate according to the authority’s data, which shows 18 of wastewater produced annually by settlers, rather than the 17.1 figure in the survey.

Of this 18, 13.5 are treated either locally or in Israel proper, and 4.5 – or 25% – of the sewage remains untreated, Schor confirmed.

In the same region, however, the Palestinian population produces 55 of sewage per year, and only about 2 (4%) of this total receives treatment, according to Schor.

“All the rest, 53, are not treated and are polluting the area and the aquifers,” he said. “That means that the amount of the Palestinian sewage that pollutes the area is even more than 10 times… what the Jewish settlers produce.”

In Israel proper, almost all of the wastewater is treated and recycled, he said.

Regarding Judea and Samaria, Schor in part slammed the Palestinians for creating obstacles to Israeli efforts to further sewage treatment efforts. According to the terms of the Joint Water Committee established after the Oslo II Accords, both sides must agree on water infrastructure projects occurring under the jurisdiction of either party.

“Israel has plans to finish the purification of all the sewage but the Palestinians are not cooperating, and are denying us from [conducting] six projects that will solve this problem altogether,” Schor said.

“They will not agree to authorize anything that is connected to the Jewish settlers.”