Valparaiso beaches closed due to sewage

Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Health authorities have closed beaches in Chilean port city Valparaiso after some 1 million liters of effluent were discharged from the main collector pipeline, local press reported.

The discharge was "unavoidable" according to the city's health services director Daniel Verdessi, as the line had to be drained for ongoing construction works along the La Polvora highway, which will serve as an alternative southern access route to the city and port, in central Region V. The beaches will be closed for at least 48 hours, but it will take "around a week" before the situation is entirely back to normal. Regional water company Esval placed screens over the escaping sewage and chlorinated the water to reduce the damage.

Beaches at neighboring resort city Viña del Mar, which is entering its busy summer season, are far enough away not to be affected, Verdessi added. However, there was no word whether local seafood would be affected by the pollution.

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