We are all too familiar with breakdowns causing spills of untreated water, chemicals, or raw sewage, with 2017’s figures showing hundreds of unauthorized discharges of one sort or another into the sea around Tenerife, but by any standards, yesterday’s incident was shocking. The problem was caused by a breakdown in the sewage treatment plant run by Santa Cruz water company Emmasa (Empresa Mixta de Aguas de Santa Cruz de Tenerife) and resulted in a torrent of untreated water pouring into the sea for three hours at La Hondura.
The videos below have gone round social media like wildfire. Emmasa itself says that the spill was not of “sewage” but public comments, ranging between outrage and despair, showed that many were unconvinced, describing the stench as appalling. Director of Emmasa Guillermo Jiménez nonetheless said that the protocol for such situations had been activated immediately, and that the spill was water intended for irrigation in public parks and gardens and so had already been subjected to three treatments.
The PR image, however, for Tenerife, could take more than that to recover from this sort of accident.