On Monday, a large leak from sewerage pipes in Saranda caused pollution of the seaside near the Çuka Channel.
According to a notification of the Municipality of Saranda on its official Facebook page, the sewerage system dates from 2003, but the reality is different. The new sewerage system of Saranda was inaugurated on April 6, 2017 by the Minister of Infrastructure Sokol Dervishaj, German Ambassador Susanne Schutz, and the Saranda Mayor Floriana Koka.
Saranda’s water and sewerage project
The project to construct 55 km of water pipes, renovation of the sewerage network, an intervention in the water reservoir, and construction of a new building for the Water and Sewerage Supply (UKS) was part of the Riviera Masterplan and cost €7.6 million. Funds for the project were approved in 2010 as part of the EU Instrument of Pre-Accession (IPA) project. Co-financing for the project, that would also include the improvement of water and sewerage infrastructure in Fier, Korça, Berat, and Lushnja was provided by the German Development Bank KfW.
According to the tender documents, work was supposed to start 2 years after signing the contract. The work took 4 years, after which the municipality had a one-year proof period.
The construction work was undertaken by Trema Engineering 2, the same company that renovated the Loro Boriçi stadium in Shkodra.
Two months ago, the State Supreme Audit Institution (KLSh) filed a lawsuit against Saranda Mayor Floriana Koka for abuse of office. In its audit, the KLSh had found that Mayor Koka had paid companies for fictitious work for the “improvement of the sewerage network in the zone of Hotel Butrint until the Çuka Channel at the value of 30 million lekë.” The citizens of Saranda thus paid the price for the corruption of its mayor once again.
A summer of defects
The broken pipe near the Çuka Channel is not the only sewerage incident in recent months.
In mid July, a pipe transporting sewerage to the filtration plant broke, spilling its contents into the Lake of Butrint, causing severe damage to the local mussel cultivation industry. The incident was not reported to the public out of fear for the loss of tourism.
According to Saranda News Capital, the raw sewerage was then redirected for two weeks to the Bistrica river.
Later in July, a pipe broke in Ksamil, covering the streets and seaside of the tourist town in raw sewerage. Again the Municipality of Saranda tried to blame others for this incident, and the EU Delegation in Tirana later released a statement that the project had been accepted by the Municipality in the spring.
Only a week ago, inhabitants of Saranda complained that they remained for days without drinking water at the height of the tourist season.