As part of the environmental program "Young Journalists for the Environment", students of the Kokkinochoria High School made a report with photos on the subject: Kokkinochoria Sewerage: Problems and risks from the continued use of septic and absorbent pits in the province of Famagusta.
The Young Environmental Journalists program is an international network of young people aged 11-21, active in more than 45 countries and coordinated by the non-profit and non-governmental Foundation for Environmental Education, based in Copenhagen (Denmark).
In this program, students develop journalistic research skills by writing articles, creating videos and taking photos, wanting to present problems and propose sustainable solutions concerning the environment that affect their community or Cyprus in general.
See the full report:
Sewerage of Kokkinochorion: Problems and risks from the continued use of septic and absorption pits in the province of Famagusta.
1. Introduction – Literature review
In various areas of Cyprus, the inhabitants daily dispose of useless liquid substances, which end up in the absorbent and septic pits of the houses, contaminating the underground water and the environment. With the existing sewage system of Famagusta, as well as with the new sewage system of Kokkinohoria that is being built, this problem will be dealt with immediately. The water and sludge produced are then used in agriculture for irrigation and fertilizer.
1.1. Famagusta-Kokkinohoria Sewerage System
The province of Famagusta has a sewage treatment plant in Ayia Napa, covering the municipalities of Ayia Napa and Paralimni, while a second unit is now being built in Kokkinohoria, which will cover the remaining communities and municipalities. The project of the Kokkinohoria Sewerage System includes the construction of a sewage collection network and a sewage treatment plant in the community of Achnas.
Positive effects from the use of sewage systems
By using drainage systems, the environment is protected, the possibility of contamination is avoided and water is reused for irrigation. This improves the quality of life in the area, while preserving the natural environment. Also, money is saved and the tourism economy is strengthened.
1.2. Septic and absorbent pits and drainage systems
The septic tanks, which still have several houses in the province of Famagusta, decompose the organic compounds of the wastewater and turn them into sludge. However, the effluent contains pathogenic microbes. Absorbent pits lose their functionality over the years, while polluting the environment.
To investigate the matter, we wanted to see the opinions of our classmates with a questionnaire that they completed online. We also visited the Famagusta Sewerage facilities in Ayia Napa, where we talked with Mr. Andreas Sepos, Senior Director of Technical Services of the Paralimni Sewerage Board.
The questionnaire was completed by students of our school, 41% students of 29st High School, 29% students of XNUMXnd High School and XNUMX% students of XNUMXrd High School.
35% of the students think the sewage system can cover the entire province of Famagusta, many (44%) do not know, while only 21% disagree.
Also, 44% do not know or agree (35%) with the proposition that "In the communities of Avgoros-Frenaros-Vrysoulos, there is a functioning sewage system", which is not the case.
62% of students know that the sewer system is a project that will significantly help the residents of Famagusta province and the environment, as well as that sewer systems are infrastructure for the removal of sewage (59%).
The majority of students (73%) know that sewage systems are units that take sewage from houses where it is treated and that the materials used for their construction are plastic pipes and concrete culverts (70%). They also know that the drains are placed at the exits of the house before the sidewalk (82%) and that the sewage will end up in Dasaki Ahnas (65%).
53% of our students answered that the waste that goes through the sewers ends up in the treatment plant, while some answered that it ends up in nature (24%) or in the sea (24%).
79% of students know that sewage treatment residues are made into fertilizers, while some answered that they are made into animal feed (6%) and skin creams (15%).
In the question "What problems are caused by the continued use of septic and absorption pits", 44% of the respondents answered that the stability of the soil is lost, while 35% answered that a lot of drilling is done in the soil and 21% answered that they help to stabilize it subsoil.
In the question "What do you think are the consequences caused to the environment", 67% answered that the soil substrate is polluted, 18% answered that it causes a lack of rain and 15% that the plants do not grow.
56% of respondents answered that we should not throw clothes and papers down the drain, 26% not to pour alcoholic beverages and 18% milk.
A large percentage of our students (62%) believe that the sewage system should be in operation in all areas of Kokkinohoria, but they do not know (50%) that the operation of the sewage system helps to deal with various environmental problems.
3.2. Results – Interview
As Mr. Sepos told us, the purpose of the sewage system is to eliminate the problems from the use of septic and absorbent pits, thus improving the living conditions of people, preventing the occurrence of diseases. It also aims to protect the environment, groundwater and soils. The biggest problem that septic tanks present in homes is the contamination of the groundwater, while if the pit is full, the sewage overflows, causing problems, such as odors.
Wastewater upon entering the facility undergoes preliminary treatment. This is followed by primary sedimentation, where they are led to the first sedimentation tanks. They then overflow to the aeration tanks with simultaneous denitrification (biological treatment – secondary sedimentation). In tertiary treatment, the water passes through layers of sand and gravel and small particles are retained. Disinfection follows, while the final product is mainly used in agriculture for irrigation. We cannot throw wet wipes, napkins, large amounts of oil into the sewer system, while toilet paper is allowed.
The coverage of the maintenance costs of the sewage systems is done through taxation, which is imposed according to certain criteria. Hotels and tourist areas have higher taxation than urban areas, while vacant lots pay lower taxation.
Fifteen people are employed in the sewage system of Famagusta. To be able to work in the sewage system, one must study chemical engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, environmental engineering or civil engineering.
4. Conclusions - Discussion The construction of the Pangypria Sewerage systems has provided solutions to various problems that arose in the past, such as the pollution of groundwater and the emergence of infectious diseases. In addition, the problem of water scarcity is addressed to a large extent, as the water is used in agriculture for irrigation.
From the answers of our classmates, it seems that most of them know enough information about the sewerage system of Kokkinohoria. Of course it should be updated, since its correct use is very important.
Taking into account the above, we consider it important that the state should invest in the expansion of existing facilities, but also in the creation of new ones throughout Cyprus, so that all houses send their sewage to the sewer and not to their own absorbents/ septic tanks.
• https://www.sbla.com.cy/Benefits-Advantages• https://neammochostos.com/article/apoxeteytiko-systhma-kokkinoxwriwn-ikanopoihsh-karagiannh-gia-enar3h-twn-ergasiwn• https://www .sbla.com.cy/en/Benefits-Advantages• https://www.philenews.com/f-me-apopsi/paremvaseis-ston-f/article/1315410/apocheteftiko-systima-symplegatos-kokkinochorion• https:/ /cwakys.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Presentation_Astromeritis.pdf• https://www.sbn.org.cy/el/skopoi• https://www.douleutaras.com.cy/bsdir/apofraxeis /kataskeui-vothrou/