Spanish electricity company sued for pollution of drinking water in Galicia

by Lorraine Williamson
pollution
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GALICIA – Once again, one of Spain’s largest energy companies, Endesa, is in a bad light. This time it is the Spanish region of Galicia that holds the company liable for pollution of a river. A river from which drinking water is supplied to 25,000 people. 

Endesa has received a fine of almost €1.9million for this. The Galician regional government said that, despite warnings, Endesa has continued emptying the reservoir of the Río Eume (A Coruña) to generate electricity. Endesa must adhere to a minimum water level according to the regulations of the Xunta. 

Reservoir ticking time bomb in Galicia 

According to experts, the reservoir has been a ticking time bomb for decades. Moreover, all these years the remains of the exploitation of the coal mine have accumulated at the bottom of it. It was also owned by Endesa. However, the mine is now being decommissioned as a result of commitments from the Spanish government to reduce CO2 emissions. 

Due to its exploitation, the harmful substances from the coal mine have accumulated on the bottom of the reservoir for years. Because Endesa has not adhered to the minimum water level, the harmful metals ended up in the river when the lake was emptied. 

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The violations took place between August and October 2020. It was noticed after the water in the river became murky and even changed colour in places. The drinking water supply was closed for 11 days because the quality was so poor damage estimated awith t €932,284. 

Endesa actually promotes environmental commitment in Spain 

This violation, and especially the sentencing to pay a fine of nearly €1.9million, is remarkable as Endesa advertises a lot of their commitment to society and the environment. Endesa therefore informed the Spanish news site Público.es that it would appeal against the ruling. 

Endesa has been discredited before 

This is not the first time that Endesa has been in the news in a negative way. In April of this year, the company allegedly broke the law several times by taking no action to prevent their electricity pylons and cables from killing hundreds of birds. Also in this area, Endesa is said to have ignored previous reprimands from police forces in Catalonia. 

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