Suing the City of Cordoba for Environmental Pollution
The foundation “Center for Human Rights and Environment” (CEDHA) and the residents of “Chacras de la Merced y Corazón de María” filed an environmental compensation lawsuit in the civil and commercial court number 30 in the city of Cordoba against the municipality of Cordoba making it responsible for the dumping of fecal matter which has been done for some time by the local sewage treatment plant “la Estación Depuradora de Liquidos Cloacales de Bajo Grande” (EDAR BAJO GRANDE).
The “EDAR BAJO GRANDE” plant is responsible for treating the sewage it receives from the city of Cordoba, and is under the control and administration of the municipality. This plant collapsed several years ago and, as a result has frequently been dumping untreated sewage directly into the river Suquia.
There are multiple reports that all agree on the “before and after“ effects of the sewage treatment plant “Bajo Grande”, either from the chemical standpoint (drastic reduction of dissolved oxygen, increased ammonia content or increased suspended solids count, etc.) or from the biological standpoint (increased bacteria count, depleted fish stock and reduced count of invertebrates, etc.).
All of these aspects have severe negative impacts on the locality of Villa Corazón de María which is located outside the municipality of Cordoba, 12 km downstream of the plant, “Bajo Grande”. The water quality around Villa Corazón de María is much lower compared to water quality taken at the bridge of “Avenida de Circunvalación”, upstream from the treatment plant.
The main purpose of the lawsuit filed by CEDHA and the affected community is to force the municipality to carry out all necessary work to recover the flora, fauna and water quality on the stretch between the 2 ½ km mark where the “EDAR BAJO GRANDE” is located up to the mark 12 km downstream.
The actors asked the judge in a precautionary and immediate manner to order the Mayor of the municipality of Cordoba not to authorize the construction of new sewer pipes and connections to the collection network in the city of Cordoba until they have finished the expansion of “EDAR Bajo Grande” to ensure that the sewage treatment will be confrome with the provincial legislation that provides all the necessary inputs for the plant to run at 100% capacity to reduce the environmental impact of its run off into the river.
The environmental damage inflicted upon the river by the municipal body endangers the health of people surrounding the treatment plant. Thus, the municipality is asked to mark the area as dangerous and to close down the affected strech between the 2 ½ km and 12 km mark; it is also asked to launch a publicity campaign for the purpose of preventing the use of the river due to the bad quality of the resources and to develop a health program for the coastal districts to determine the population at risk due to the water pollution in order to take appropriate actions.
Juan Miguel Picolotti, legal advisor at CEDHA, notes: “Given the absolute lack of municipal environmental policy, this lawsuit tries to stop the municipality’s unreasonable attitude by allowing the pollution of the river and it attempts to create a recovery plan. The municipal government should stop using the river as an open sewer and it should realize that it is a vital resource for its residents and of strategic importance to the city of Córdoba.”