Yone Fonseca, leader of the actions related to water use, presented an overview of the progress of monitoring actions in the Doce River basin, improvements to the water supply system, sewage collection and treatment
Last Friday, September 29, the leader of the actions of the Renova Foundation related to water use, Yone Fonseca, provided details and answered questions about the work carried out in the areas affected by the collapse of the Fundão dam.
At the beginning of the talk, Yone presented an overview of the three work fronts that together form water use management:
- Monitoring of the Doce River basin;
- Water supply system improvements and
- Sewage Collection and Treatment.
Since the collapse in November 2015, until July 2017, more than 181 sampling points were monitored, according to more than 150 parameters. According to Yone, almost 80,000 data were collected and, based on this study, we can say that the recovery actions for improving the water quality are being effective. “Today, we can affirm that the quality of the river is practically the same as before the collapse of the Fundão dam,” says Yone
This statement can only be made because, since 1997, the State Water Management Institute of Minas Gerais (IGAM) regularly monitors the waters of the Doce River. The latest report, from July 2017, shows that the presence of manganese, iron, aluminum and lead are already comparable to pre-collapse level.
In July 2016, the Renova Foundation started automatic monitoring through 22 new stations, as well as laboratory analyses to monitor water and sediment in 56 points along the Doce River and 36 points in the coastal zone. The data collected by these automatic stations goes to a database, which is shared live with all environmental agencies, so that they also monitor and verify the conditions of the river. For a period of 10 years, these stations will continuously evaluate about 80 indicators, such as turbidity, flow, presence of metals, contamination by coliforms, pesticides, among others. “All this monitoring makes the Doce River basin the most monitored in Brazil,” says Yone.
Regarding the improvement of the water supply system, Yone explains that the focus of this front is to reduce the risk of shortages in the 24 localities that collected water from the Doce River and which ran out of water after the collapse. One of the objectives of the program is to discover the water availability of each of them and to develop means of alternative water withdrawal from the river. Regardless, Yone points out that the Doce River still has the best treatable water. “The National Water Agency (ANA) has already stated that the river has total capacity for treatability and that the population shouldn’t be afraid. All water treatment plants have full conditions to provide water of good quality, “she said.
The construction of river pipelines, the creation of wells and the improvements to the water treatment plants (ETAs) are some of the measures being implemented. These alternative systems should account for at least 30% of consumption in towns with up to 100,000 inhabitants and at least 50% in larger localities.
On sewage collection and treatment, Yone explains that the program administers the R $ 500 million determined by the Transaction and Conduct Adjustment Term (TTAC) for the construction of sewage treatment stations (ETEs) and landfills serving 39 municipalities, between Mariana (MG) and Regência (ES). In the region affected by the collapse, 80% of the domestic sewage goes to the untreated rivers and practically all the solid waste collected goes to dumps, compromising the groundwater. Changing this reality depends on the engagement of the various municipalities, who have technical difficulties in dealing with the seriousness of the situation.
During the broadcast, users were able to interact and submit questions, complains and suggestions. Francisco Tenório, for example, asked if there is any effective project to reduce the emission of pollutants and facilitate the recovery of the Doce River. Yone explained that in addition to the tailings management and monitoring program, which identifies the location and origin of the problem, sewage treatment is the main instrument for the recovery of the river. “The Doce River has always been polluted, more by bacteria coming from sewage, both industrial and domestic, than by metals. Sending clean water back to the rivers is the dream of anyone who works with water, “she said.
Check out the full talk: