We have received so many messages of support over the past few days, that first of all we want to thank everyone for their very kind thoughts. They have been much appreciated.
As you know, members of Pro Monte Pego (PMP) travelled to Brussels and the very imposing buildings of the EU Parliament, full of hope and expectation at what the Petitions Committee would decide.
Even the committee room was an intimidating environment, but Vicent Portes Alemany, President of Pro Monte Pego, carefully presented the evidence behind his petition in his 5 minutes of allowed time for an introduction.
Responses were then sought by the chairman from the European Commission and interested Members of Parliament.
The Spanish representative of the Commission took a very confusing position with respect to the problem, even a contradictory one in indicating first that he had no indication of regulations being breached, and then admitting that actions were being taken to solve the problems, predictably coming from the Spanish regional authorities. News to PMP.
The European Member of Parliament (EMP) of ALE-Greens from Catalonia, Josep Maria Terricabras, emphasised the fact that the European Commission has open procedures for sanctions involving deficiencies in the process of water purification, and that there were about a thousand such black spots detected throughout the Spanish State:
"Despite this, it seems that there is reluctance to frame the Monte Pego Waste Water Treatment Plant in this long list of defective plants, although it affects a natural area that the European authorities themselves should preserve before it is too late".
However, in a passionate closing speech the President of Pro Monte Pego strongly reiterated the last water analysis presented to the committee as clear and indisputable evidence that the pollution from the Monte Pego sewage treatment plant was indeed affecting the Marjal Natural Park and the seriousness of continuing with any such situation.
It was this, in line with the responses of other European Parliamentarians, that prompted the Petitions Committee to keep the petition open and conclude that further investigations of the relevant authorities were needed.
The pressure therefore grows on these authorities to explain the contradictions, and is exposing the truth about what is happening.
The prima facia case has been made.
The following are the articles we have found so far.
A search of the internet has found that this is not the first time that the issues in La Marjal has been raised in EU Parliament. The following are EU Parliamentary Questions and answers.
Protecting the Pego-Oliva marshes (Valencia - Spain) written by Maria Sornosa Martinez (GUE/NGL) on 6th June 1996
Pego-Oliva Wetlands written by Maria Sornosa Martinez (GUE/NGL) on 28th November 1997.
Pego-Oliva marsh written by Maria Sornosa Martinez (GUE/NGL) on 8th October 1998.
Pego-Oliva marshland written by Maria Sornosa Martinez (PSE) on 23rd February 1999.
Ecological disaster in Pego-Oliva marsh written by Maria Sornosa Martinez (PSE) on 1st September 1999.
Pro Monte Pego have recieved an official invitation to attend an EU Committee For Petitions (PETI) meeting.
Specifically to discuss the untreated waste water spills and potential for impact upon the nature park de La Marjal.
Pro Monte Pego have submitted the following pictures, to the relevant authorities, of a new waste water leak this time on the Monte Pego sewage treatment on the Denia side.
We hope to hear from them soon and have ask them to report whether a new sanctioning file will be opened, to the city of Denia, who has also been informed along with the comissionado of European Union petitions.
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You may already be aware that Pro Monte Pego, the Association representing Homeowners’ interests on the Urbanisation, has launched a legal action against Pego Town Hall. You may have already joined our legal action thus appreciating the reasons behind this action. If so, you have no need to read any further.
However, if this is all news to you and you want to understand the true reasons, maybe even join the action, then please read on.
The Town Halls of Pego and Denia have for 15 year neglected their duty of care to us all, effectively abandoning the urbanisation by illegally failing to provide any basic services - safe roads, pavements, sewerage, etc. - and no maintenance or repairs. During all this time we have dutifully paid our suma (taxes) but received nothing in return.
The law throughout Spain is extremely clear stating that in such instances of an urbanisation being abandoned, as we clearly are, it is the Town Hall’s responsibility and they must step in and provide repairs, maintenance and basic services. Failure to provide basic services could leave Town Halls liable to prosecution in a court of law, and potential compensation to residents.
The Town Halls might try to claim back the costs from the developer, but that is between the Town Halls and the developer and of no interest to us and our legal action.
The time for negotiating with the Town Halls of Denia and Pego has long since passed hence this unprecedented legal action taken by the home owners of Monte Pego against the Town Halls.
For further information contact us on :- firstname.lastname@example.org
Please remember, if you want to join Pro Monte Pego, it’s free membership!
The payment for this legal action is a one off payment and not a subscription.
We hope that having read to the end, you now understand the background and reasons for the legal action and will be inspired by this golden opportunity to end the many years of injustices suffered by the Monte Pego community.
Pro Monte Pego
The Resident’s Association of a well known Costa Blanca urbanisation are celebrating a report released 14th May 2018 by the Sindic de Grueges (Public’s Ombudsman).
The report is in response to a plea for help made by Pro Monte Pego, the association on the mountain urbanisation of Monte Pego, fighting for residents rights to have basic services provided by the three Town Halls in whose jurisdiction the urbanisation falls - Pego, Denia and Rafol.
Sixteen years ago, Pego Town Hall refused to accept into public ownership a part of its section in the urbanisation, because it was deemed finished to an unsatisfactory standard.
The Town Hall and Promoter of the urbanisation fell out, and so began a bitter legal dispute, still unresolved after 16 years and several court judgements (that have been ignored!)
During this time the Town Halls collected sumas but disputed ownership of the urbanisation. Considering it private, they provided no basic services for residents whilst the Promoter allowed the infrastructure to deteriorate to what has now become a critical level.
The roads and pavements are in dire need of repair and improvements, street lighting is non-existent, and the sewage treatment plant is polluting the environment. Just some of the problems, amongst many, that negotiations with Town Halls and Promoter have failed to resolve.
Enter the ombudsman’s investigation and report. The detailed, even handed and carefully considered report, whilst noting previous court rulings does however highlight that the current situation [ failure to provide mandatory basic services] is contrary to law, the duty of care, and “the most elementary sense of justice”
It recommends that “it is essential that the administrations involved adopt all necessary measures to correct the many deficiencies noted, in order that the urbanisation can then be taken into public ownership and basic services provided”
It also warns that failure to provide basic services could leave Town Halls liable to prosecution in a court of law, and potential compensation to residents.
Rafol Town Hall, prior to the report, had already accepted its full responsibilities. Perhaps now Denia and particularly Pego will also accept their responsibilities and stop hiding behind lawyers.
With the report’s ‘music to the ears’ Pro Monte Pego will continue the fight emboldened, vindicated and to the courts if necessary.
Much has happened since the news was first published that the European Parliament had opened an investigation into the terrible pollution being pumped out by the Monte Pego sewage treatment plant. This effluent is “probably” polluting the Marjal Nature Park, and rice fields beyond. “Probably” is used advisedly as no proof yet exists, but the pollution has to go somewhere, with the natural course of the barranca pointing the way! The other factor to consider is the timescale of the pollution, unbelievably it has been going on for 10 years - Pego Town Hall has paid a monthly fine to the water authority (CHG) all those years, a huge sum of money in total.
The first development has been the confirmation of the pollution with the results of water analyses performed by an independent, Notary certified laboratory. The samples were taken from the barranca close to the treatment plant into which the effluent is pumped, and when an expert in waste treatment was consulted and shown the results he concluded the waste coming out of the plant was no better than that going in. These results have been shared with the EU Commission.
Subsequently, research was undertaken on the bacteria results in the tests, with disturbing findings. Only two forms of common faecal bacteria are recorded because they are used for international standards, and also they are the easiest to identify and count. Very high levels were found in this case, but there would be many other bacteria, some that can cause serious health problems, that are not tested for or quantified.
Next, these results were discussed with the Director of the Marjal Nature Park, Snr. Joseba Rodriguez at a recent meeting with the Residents Association. He agreed that the pollution would definitely be traveling in the water table to the Park, but insisted his tests of the water, taken from the natural springs, showed it was clean. However, he admitted his samples were not tested for bacteria or parasites. Clearly further sampling and testing of the park’s water needs to be carried out, but Snr. Joseba Rodriguez would not undertake to do them. Strange, because he might discover why the number of eels fell so low recently that they needed restocking, as reported by Radio Pego on 13/03/18.
The latest insult to injury, if proved to be correct, is the reported abandonment of the sewage treatment plant by its owners. It means that no maintenance is being done, and the pollution will only worsen. What possible motive for this could there be? To force Pego Town Hall to solve the problem? To break 15 years of legal dispute between the two parties?
It is this legal dispute, used for so long as an excuse for inaction, that has led to this and other problems. This dispute must end. The EU investigation may be instrumental in this, but meantime the fight must go on to maintain pressure on Pego Town Hall.
Not least because for the Pego sector it is known that the obvious solution to the sewage problem - to connect the urbanisation’s system to Pego’s main system - is technically feasible. But for this to happen the legal dispute must be over, and the responsibilities of both Pego Town Hall and the developer clarified. As we know both parties refuse to do any of this, because of the ridiculous 15 year long dispute!!
Hopefully this newsletter has been helpful in bringing members up to date with current events and in setting the scene for the EGM to follow, when the very important next steps for the Association will be discussed.
An ancient and obsolete sewerage system on a Costa Blanca urbanisation has caused problems for residents for many years. But now evidence is emerging of deliberate and prolonged pollution from this system which is effecting local residents, a nearby nature park and rice fields.
This problem is but one of many involving the large mountain urbanisation of Monte Pego, first developed in the 1970’s which has now grown to nearly 1,500 homes. For the last 15 years a legal dispute between the Town Halls, lead by Pego, and the Developers, has prevented the urbanisation becoming public and receiving basic services from Pego, Rafol and Denia Town Halls (despite sumas being paid all that time).
The infrastructure suffered badly from this neglect, including the sewerage system, which was never connected to Pego Town’s main system as originally planned. The reason given was the legal dispute.
Instead the urbanisation has relied on a waste treatment plant and a series of septic tanks. As the urbanisation has grown the capacity of this small, old and inefficient plant has been unable to cope with the amount of waste.
Since 2010, or for longer, the overflow from the treatment plant has been sent into a natural gully on the mountain, the Barranc de Batlle, that feeds into the Marjal Nature Park and the rice fields beyond. This has been confirmed by independent analysis of water samples.
If this is not bad enough, Pego Town Hall have known of this pollution, yet refused to solve the problem, blaming that legal dispute. Indeed, since 2010 they have paid an annual fine to the water authority of tens of thousands of euros. They refuse to disclose the full amount paid over the years, but it is public money that could have been spent on the obvious solution.
Pro Monte Pego, the Residents Association on the urbanisation, frustrated by this intransigence of the Town Hall and deeply concerned for the environment, felt that their only course of action was to petition the EU parlament.
This was done in Summer 2017, and recently the Association has received the news that the petition has been accepted, and an investigation will now follow, in respect of public health, the environment and food safety.
A spokesperson for Pro Monte Pego, on hearing this news said “the fact that the EU Parlament is investigating shows how serious this is, and we hope as a result the environment will be protected, residents will be protected and we will get a sewerage system fit for purpose. It is wonderful news!”
Both the urbanisation and its beautiful surroundings do not deserve this wilful neglect and pollution. Perhaps the legal stranglehold will finally, after 15 years, be broken once this scandal is investigated.
Today the Mayor of Pego and some Pro Monte Pego members have been visiting the works done on Avenida de Pego.
Apart from improving the good relations between us, the visit has served to analyse the pace of the works, as well as highlighting the different measures included in the project.
The duration will be 6 months (December-May). During this time the workers will clean all streets, pavements and areas that impede safe driving; attend to fire protection and, of course, improve the aesthetics.
Broken pavements and road bollards will be repaired, but the time needs to be confirmed.
3. REGULARITY OF MAINTENANCE
Following Pego's Mayor's visit, the responsibility for the regularity of the maintenance work will be assumed from now on by Pego Town Hall. That is to say, periodic maintenance will be carried out as on any other roads in the urban area of Pego.
Besides this, the Mayor wanted to express his apologies for the delays and thanked all Monte Pego’s residents and home owners for their patience.
The Pro Monte Pego commitment of endeavouring to make Monte Pego an even better place to live comes even closer day by day.