STA, 21 August 2019 - Two of the four coastal municipalities have had problems with sewage pollution of the sea, an issue which has caught much media attention as a popular beach near Koper had to close for ten days in the midst of the tourist season. Public utilities say it is usually a result of buildings not being properly connected to the sewage system.
An uncontrolled discharge of sewage into the sea spoiled bathing in Žusterna in the Koper municipality at the end of July.
The closure of the Žusterna beach has prompted a group of concerned locals to report the municipal public utility Marjetica Koper to police.
They suspect it of crimes related to environmental pollution, negligence, and failure to prevent risks to public health, according to the paper Primorske Novice.
While Marjetica Koper has found no flaws on the sewage system, it has managed to contain the damage by pumping runoff water to prevent a further spillage in Žusterna.
The results of the checks of the drainage system for storm waters are meanwhile expected within a week, the company has told the STA.
Piran has also had problems with sewage pollution, whereas no problems have been reported from Izola and Ankaran.
According to the director of public utility Okolje Piran, Gašpar Gašpar Mišič, Lucija Hotel was connected to the drainage system, which has already been dealt with.
Another problematic area was around the Faculty for Tourism Studies - Turistica where some homes were connected to the sewage system incorrectly, so faeces spilled into the runoff water system and then further into the sea.
Gašpar Mišič said this area had the same problems in the summer of 2017 as Žusterna this year, but they have been addressed by runoff water pumping.
His company has already called on home owners to check how they are connected to the public sewage system.
The company receives requests for checks from owners or neighbours on a daily basis, and plans to check all connections free of charge.
Several dozen flawed connections have already been discovered and repaired, while there are also some cases where property owners are dragging their feet for years.
"If as part of preventive checks we find buildings which discharge sewage illegally, we'll seal them immediately," he announced.
"Let them take us to court then," he said, admitting he was not sure this would be lawful, but he deems it important bathing is safe and tourism prospers.
An issue are also the homes whose basements have been turned into rooms for tourists, but the owners connected them onto the runoff water system instead of the sewage system.
Gašpar Mišič was rather critical of legislation under which an owner can obtain a permit to use a facility without it being first inspected to meet the standards.