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Israeli Water Experts Say U.S. Advisers Not Needed to Control Pollution of Lake Tiberias

Israeli water and environmental experts are annoyed by the Health Ministry’s plans to invite U.S. experts to advise it on ways of avoiding the pollution of Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee), Israel’s main water reservoir.

The Israeli experts say the reason for the recent increase of coli bacteria count in the lake water is known and ways of dealing with it already in use are effective. They say the Health Ministry has panicked unnecessarily.

The bacteria increase is due to the 70-day shutdown of a by-pass salt water channel, normally used to shunt saline and sewage water round the lake, while urgent repairs are carried out. The sewage now pumped into the lake is treated and the output of the national water network is receiving extra chlorination, the experts say.

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The Mekorot Water Co. and the Israel Water Authority experts say they have been studying the Sea of Galilee for many years and consulting with environmental experts who have the data of many years and practical experience to rely on. American experts will have to spend months studying the data by which time the repairs will have been completed and the sewage water again channeled away from the reservoir, they said.

Local experts say the pollution to the lake from unplanned development throughout Galilee, including as far away as Kiryat Shemonah with its industrial waste, is more harmful than the temporary sewage in flow.

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