14/12/2015
Truck dumping untreated sludge into agricultural fields Photo: Waeel Kabalan

Green Police Probe Finds Toxic Sludge Dumped in Fields in North
Truck dumping untreated sludge into agricultural fields
Photo: Waeel Kabalan
​A fertilizer manufacturer has been indicted for disposing untreated, poisonous sludge with high concentrations of heavy metals into agricultural fields. The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP) issued the indictment against Compost Shluchot on Nov. 25, 2015. The company, located on Kibbutz Shluchot, some 30 Km south of the Sea of Galilee, is accused of collecting sludge from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), and dumping it onto nearby fields without treating it. This resulted in contamination of water sources and other serious health hazards. The company also submitted reports falsifying the amount of sludge it collected.

Untreated sludge in agricultural fields Photo: Waeel Kabalan

Green Police Probe Finds Toxic Sludge Dumped in Fields in North
Untreated sludge in agricultural fields
Photo: Waeel Kabalan
​The MoEP’s Green Police found that Compost Shluchot violated the conditions of its business permit between March 2013 and December 2014, by taking in much more sludge than allowed by the permit. It then submitted reports with falsified numbers to the MoEP and to its host kibbutz. As a result, the company earned more than NIS 1 million in unreported profits. That money was paid to a company that agreed to collect sludge from WWTPs in Haifa, Acre, and Netanya, and deliver it directly to agricultural fields before treatment. This was instead of delivering it to Compost Shluchot, which was is supposed to treat the sludge and turn it into fertilizer.

Until it is treated, this sludge contains toxins and heavy metals with dangerous concentrations of coliform and other fecal bacteria. It causes severe environmental hazards, including contaminated water sources, dirt, and an intolerable odor. Food that is grown in untreated fertilizer is banned from human consumption.

Because of the falsified reports, it is unclear how much untreated sludge was disposed of in the fields.