AREAS of natural water found in the ground in many areas of the Marina Alta are contaminated by high levels of nitrates; levels that exceed minimum amounts recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The issue for many living in the area has often been whether they have water or not; now the question is whether the quality of that water is good enough. The problem has been caused by the wells being vulnerable to a certain amount of contamination from nitrates used in agricultural land and the water contains more than 50 milligrams per litre.
The areas where high levels have been discovered are Beniarbeig, Benidoleig, Benimeli, Dénia, Javea, Sagra, Ondara, Orba, Pedreguer, Pego, Ràfol d’Almúnia, Sanet i Negrals, Els Poblets, Tormos, and El Verger. Basically, the most populated areas of the Marina Alta along the coast that attracts the tourism.
This type of pollution is not new – it was first recognised in the 1980s – and is quite prevalent across the Valencian community. In fact, according to the last figures issued in 2009, there were 215 municipalities affected. The new list, expected to be released shortly, is expected to increase by 24 per cent to 266.
The Marina Alta suffers more than most as the underground water is their only supply and thus contamination is difficult to eradicate. Thankfully, the heavy rains experienced at the turn of the year has helped the problem but many experts feel it may have spread the existing nitrates in the extra flows.