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21.8.

2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 235 E/231

(2001/C 235 E/272) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0625/01


by Pietro-Paolo Mennea (ELDR) to the Commission

(23 February 2001)

Subject: Environmental pollution in the towns of Barletta, Andria and Trani

The Ciappetta-Camaggio canal, which begins in Murgia, upstream from the town of Andria, flows into the
sea between Barletta and Trani, at a place known as ‘Ariscianne’.

This canal has always represented a serious environmental problem, because of the high risk of pollution it
poses to both the sea and the ecosystem.

According to local information and reports in the press, the situation has recently deteriorated still further.

Highly pollutant materials, such as burnt tyres, waste from illicit slaughterhouses or sewage from gully
suckers, have been systematically dumped into the canal near the district of S. Lucia.

There are also illegal waste outlets into the canal as well as illegal water collection to irrigate surrounding
fields.

Reports on the problem have been drawn up by members of the ‘Nucleo di Vigilanza Ittico-Faunistico-
Ambientale’ (an environmental watchdog group), pointing to the existence of a highly pollutant whitish
scum, something which is particularly serious in view of the proximity of the stretch of sea concerned to
the beach resorts of Barletta.

Will the Commission say what kind of controls should be introduced for the waters of the Ciapetta-
Camaggio canal and how the bodies responsible can be prevailed upon to perform such controls properly
so as to identify those causing the pollution?

Answer given by Mr Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(30 March 2001)

The problem seems in the first place to be one of urban waste water collection and treatment, resulting
from a failure to implement correctly Council Directive 91/271/EEC of 21 May 1991 concerning urban
waste water treatment (1). This Directive obliges Member States to install waste water collection and
treatment, with secondary treatment, i.e. biological treatment, unless further treatment (such as nutrient
removal and/or disinfection by ultra violet (UV) or ozone) is required to comply with other directives such
as the Bathing Water Quality Directive (2).

Information provided by the Italian authorities under the Bathing Water Directive does indicate that
bathing waters in Barletta comply with the more stringent (guide) values of the Directive.

It is for the Member States to decide, under the subsidiarity principle, which authority is responsible for
the controls and the implementation of the measures to comply with the above Directives.

If it is considered that European legislation is breached, appeal should be made in the first instance to the
national legal courts. Only if all legal means at national level have been exhausted, can appeal be made to
the Commission.

(1) OJ L 135, 30.5.1991.


(2) Council Directive 76/160/EEC of 8 December 1975 concerning the quality of bathing water (OJ L 31, 5.2.1976).