A million cubic meters of sewage in the ocean
Just under a million cubic meters of unfiltered sewage were pumped into the ocean around Reykjavík during the 18 days where the emergency valve of the pumping station in Faxaskjól was open.
As of yesterday, the emergency valve has now been fixed and tested and the pumping station’s operation is back to normal.
Inga Dóra Hrólfsdóttir, CEO of Veitur Utilities, held a press conference today where she explained that the wrong materials had been used for the valve back in 2014. The valves are made of stainless steel but it seems like the wrong kind was installed into the valves opening equipment which led to its ruin.
The public wasn’t alerted to the valve malfunction until ten days into the debacle. Inga Dóra said it was clear that the company should have come clean earlier.
“We have learned our lesson and will change our procedures in the future,” she said. Signs will be put up by the pumping stations when unfiltered sewage needs to be pumped out, information will be put up on the company’s website and Facebook and press releases will be sent out should such incidents occur again.
Veitur’s staff has been working on cleaning the shores that were affected by the breakdown and will continue doing so for the next few days. According to numbers from the Reykjavík Health department, e-coli pollution only reached dangerous levels very close to the station itself.
Another pumping station by the Harpa music hall will be inspected in the coming days since it has the same kind of valve as the one that broke down in Faxaskjól.