The flow of sewage from a broken pipe at Sacaba Beach on Monday night flooded part of the residential area, damaged a number of vehicles and has left a stench in the air. People were also warned not to swim off the beach between the breakwater at La Térmica and the mouth of the Guadalhorce river. It happened during construction works on the El Pato estate and the clean-up operation continues.
But there is another, less visible problem. For three days, the sewage waste of around 22,000 people has been continually flowing into the sea because a breakdown at the pumping station stopped it reaching the Guadalhorce treatment plant.
As a result, about 40 litres of sewage per second has been flowing from an underwater outlet 300 metres offshore for three days. To put this in perspective, the sewage generated by the whole of Malaga city reaches the treatment plant at the rate of around 1,500 litres per second.
The council says the pipe will be repaired and in operation again by this weekend at the latest. The construction company which caused the damage has taken on the task of cleaning up after the spill, supervised by technicians from the Emasa water company.
The pipe broke when a manhole was displaced while a second pipe was being installed below the one to the pumping station, to channel the sewage from the new development, and shifted the pipe's position.
The company, which had maps showing the exact location of all the existing pipes, says the work to install the new pipe was carried out correctly and the break in the sewage pipe was just “an accident”.