Chile's Essal hit with lawsuit over lake pollution

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, August 03, 2017
Chile's Essal hit with lawsuit over lake pollution

Chilean water utility Essal has been hit with a lawsuit filed by the municipality of Puerto Varas, which accuses the company of "negligent and illegal" actions due to the high levels of pollution that have been found in Llanquihue lake, in southern Los Lagos region (X).

The lawsuit demands reparation of the environmental damage by Essal and also requests that the utility punish those responsible for illegally dumping wastewater into the lake, which is the second largest in the country and a focus of the area's tourism sector, according to a press release from the city government.

In particular, Essal was accused of breaking environmental laws and putting the local population's health and the ecosystem at risk, while authorities claim that the local wastewater treatment plant does not meet the requirements established by the law.

"We want the environmental authority to provide a response all citizens in the Llanquihue Lake Basin, especially those in Puerto Varas, so that tomorrow we don't end up with a dead lake, caused by the lack of control that has been seen in the management of wastewater," said Puerto Varas mayor Ramón Bahamonde (pictured above).

A previous investigation found that the city has four points where wastewater is discharged illegally, areas where concentrations of fecal matter surpassed legal limits by a factor of 16.

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