Sewage from Cártama is discharged into the Guadalhorce river. / ñito salas

EU takes Spain to court over sewage again, including three more towns in Malaga province

The first court case referred to Coín, Nerja, Estepona – now resolved – and Alhaurín el Grande, and cost the government and the Junta de Andalucía 12.3 million euros in fines. Now, the EU is taking action relating to another 133 towns across the country

FRANCISCO JIMÉNEZ Malaga

The EU is taking legal action against Spain again over its lack of sewage treatment, and once again the province of Malaga appears in the file. Spain has already been fined millions of euros because it failed to comply with the rule that all towns with a population of over 15,000 must treat all their sewage by 2001, and now the European Commission is going back to the courts again because the country also failed to meet the requirement for all places with over 2,000 inhabitants to treat all their sewage by 2006.

The first case referred to Coín, Nerja, Estepona – now resolved – and Alhaurín el Grande, and cost the government and the Junta de Andalucía 12.3 million euros in fines. Now, the EU is taking action about 133 towns all over Spain, including the Lower Guadalhorce area, which encompasses Álora, Pizarra and Cártama.

The sewage from Álora and Pizarra has been treated since 2019, but that of Cártama has not, and still is not being treated. It was not included in the EU's first legal action because at that time it only had 13,400 inhabitants; it now has twice that many.

Cártama's sewage is being released into the Guadalhorce river along with that of Alhaurín el Grande, and this will continue until the new Malaga-Norte treatment plant is built and in operation. That won't be any time soon: if there are no delays, it will come into service during the second half of 2025.

Also on the list in Andalucía are three urban areas of Seville, as well as Úbeda, La Línea de la Concepción, Morón de la Frontera and Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Elsewhere, action is being taken against León, San Sebastián, southern Madrid, Cáceres, Badajoz, Palencia, Salamanca, Segovia, Soria, Valladolid and Zamora.