Part of the planned subway route of the Red Line in Tel Aviv passes through the area of the most polluted soils, above and below the groundwater.
So is the planned metro.
Who among us knows about it about a year before the light rail line operates?
There are questions that it is probably better not to ask after an investment of about NIS 18 billion and a delay of years.
'The dangers inherent in these findings include possible injury to workers in the excavation of the railway route and the spread of toxic gases in the subway tunnel during and after its mining and injury to train passengers.
Harmful effects on infrastructure such as cable corrosion and the fear that high concentrations of fuel vapor in an enclosed space could cause explosions. "
The findings of these and other horror casts were written in a report by Forget God, compiled by the Knesset's Research Department almost 20 years ago.
It turns out that thousands of dunams of land throughout Gush Dan, worth tens of billions of shekels, were contaminated with volatile organic materials and heavy metals by Israel's military industry.
One of the most common soil contaminants is the contamination with fuels and oils, which can cause groundwater contamination and health hazards resulting from cancer exposure.
For example, one liter of fuel consisting of mixtures of compounds some of which are known as carcinogens may contaminate one million liters of groundwater.
The extent of the pollution is not really known, as these are volatile compounds, some of which are toxic, and they spread as gases that can penetrate parking lots and basements and harm those who live in them, especially workers who dig in the ground for construction.
But they are known to be transparent in our country anyway.
Despite the great and clear contribution that military industry has in maintaining state security, the enormous environmental destruction it has left behind in the many facilities in which IMI has operated throughout the country should not be underestimated.
This is an environmental destruction that is rarely talked about.
IMI activity has led to severe pollution in the coastal aquifer, which serves as the drinking water reservoir of Gush Dan and other places and in the land.
It restricts residential construction on thousands of dunams in major cities in the country, including Ramat Hasharon, Hod Hasharon, Herzliya, Rehovot and Jerusalem.
For example, new construction on the scale of a medium-sized city is delayed in the last remaining area in the heart of the demand area in Israel, in the Ramat Hasharon industrial zone. Construction of tens of thousands of housing units throughout the country is prevented Israel.
This week it was decided to transfer to Patamal the promotion of a construction plan in the amount of 4,500 housing units in the Tirat Carmel Industrial Land. It will be interesting to follow the development of the plan. Various pollutants, such as chlorinated solvents and metals, were also found in this area.
Lack of environmental awareness
The military industry - IMI, was established in 1933, even before the establishment of the state, and was a cornerstone in maintaining the strength and security of the Jewish community.
IMI deals in the research, development and production of weapons, ammunition and military systems.
The company has made extensive achievements in its field, but has certainly not excelled in preserving the environment - to say the least.
After IMI was sold in November 2018 to Elbit Systems for $ 495 million, the past is no longer a problem for IMI, but for the Ministry of Defense and a new company established for that purpose - Netzer Hasharon.
Entire cities could be built on the premises of the factories, but the purification of the land will take many more years - and in the meantime the price of the land is rising to new heights.
Of course, the purge will be part of any future deal.
IMI plants are scattered throughout the country, in areas that currently constitute major areas of demand.
Explosives, ammunition and gunpowder were produced in the Nof Yam - Apollonia Herzliya complex;
Weapons were manufactured in the Magen compound in Tel Aviv;
Rocket systems were created in the Eliyahu compound in Ramat Hasharon;
A variety of metal products were manufactured in the Beit Hakerem complex in Jerusalem;
The Givon complex in Rehovot is engaged in the development and production of rocket systems;
The Tirat Carmel complex produces metal parts for various types of ammunition;
more and more.
At the time of the establishment of IMI plants the environmental awareness was not as it is today.
Environmental surveys show that IMI plants, like many industrial plants in Israel and around the world, have used, at best, septic tanks to dispose of industrial effluents mixed with hazardous materials.
Absorption pit as it is called - the effluent seeps as raw material and is not treated in the soil, which leads to severe pollution of the subsoil and groundwater.
In the worst case, they simply poured the same hazardous substances into the wadi.
As early as the 1980s, it was discovered among defense industries in the United States that the use of hazardous substances of the type used in IMI plants - and especially perchlorate, which is a type of rocket rocket fuel unique to IMI uses, endangers public health. Pour it into the ground and allow it to seep into the groundwater.The main concern is that the material will damage the thyroid gland.
The use of septic tanks was banned for all industry in the water regulations as early as 1992, and it is surprising to find that IMI, which operates under state auspices, used the septic tanks in its various plants at least until 2000. For about 70 years IMI contaminated the land on which it operated and its water sources.
No solution has been found to this problem to this day.
Purification before construction
In the State Comptroller's report from 2005, in the chapter "IMI Land - Ground and Groundwater Contamination and Preparation of Outline Plans", the Comptroller warned that "in view of the dangers arising from soil and water pollution, it is essential that all parties involved, including the Ministry of Finance, act urgently. And on a reasonable schedule for the treatment of soil contaminants, for the prevention of the spread of groundwater pollution and for their treatment. "
The prolonged neglect of IMI and state authorities in finding a solution to purify the soil and aquifer has led to the rapid spread of the pollution, in accordance with soil changes and groundwater flow.
This created severe pollution hotspots in the most sought-after real estate areas.
This was stated by the Supreme Court recently (Justice Y. Amit), in the ruling regarding the deposit of the TAML in the Nof Yam IMI plant complex (Apollonia):
As stated, the state undertook to conduct a risk survey already in the discussion that took place on May 21, 2007, ie almost 12 years ago (!!), and also in its later commitment to complete it by August 2016 - did not materialize.
"This procrastination on the part of the state, which is a violation of explicit obligations it has undertaken in this court, is a conduct that is difficult to beat, to say the least."
In the evacuation of the Ramat Hasharon IMI, the planning authorities sought to establish a housing and employment plan on a huge area of 7,430 dunams, which includes 36,000 housing units and about 1,650,000 square meters of construction space for non-residential uses.
These areas will be added to existing cities, but in terms of the dimensions of the plan it is an addition of a city in the central area.
This could have been good news for resolving the housing crisis in the central region.
According to the municipalities of Ramat Hasharon and Herzliya, which petitioned the Administrative Court for the cancellation of the plan, the planning authorities did not take into account the heavy pollution in the Ramat Hasharon IMI land, which spread beyond the plan.
According to them, the plan cannot be approved before the land is treated.
The petition, led by Adv. Tamar Migdal - Head of the Planning and Construction Department, and Adv. Gidi Priestik - Head of the Environment Department, both from the law firm of Meitar, deals with alleged flaws in the district committee's decision to approve the plan.
Land clearing is not a trivial matter and a massive investment is required for that.
According to the state's response, "this is a land division occupied by a vital security enterprise and infected with a substantial land pollution, which it is estimated will require amounts amounting to billions of shekels to deal with."
The program has been delayed for more than 15 years without finding a proper solution.
Gases moving in the ground
One of the major problems is the spread of pollution by gases moving rapidly within the ground cavities.
These gases can penetrate buildings through cracks, holes and openings in the floor and walls.
The penetration of toxic and carcinogenic soil gases into the building endangers public health.
The phenomenon is common in underground spaces, such as basements and parking lots, but also occurs in above-ground buildings that are in direct contact with the ground.
For example, the completion of the towers in Nahalat Yitzhak in Tel Aviv has been delayed for years due to gases detected in the parking basements, which originate from the activities of IMI Magen.
Radon gas was discovered in a neighborhood near IMI Magen lands in Ramat Hasharon.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection has formulated a procedure for protecting buildings from the ingress of soil gases.
In its response to the petition, the State of Israel found in the procedure for the protection of buildings a solution to the presence of toxic gases in the soil.
It is claimed that "the planning system knows how to deal with this phenomenon" through the protection of the buildings.
That is, not really solving the problem, but protecting it.
The state seeks to impose the responsibilities and costs of protecting the buildings on future contractors to build on the site.
That is, it will roll into the price of the apartment for buyers.
Another example is seen in the Nof Yam complex in Herzliya.
Although IMI plants were evacuated from the complex as early as 1996, the environmental damage is still showing its signs today.
In this complex, the planning authorities in 2014 approved a plan for the construction of 3,000 housing units and a national park, without conducting an environmental risk survey.
The Supreme Court ordered the cancellation of the plan because the risks posed by these materials and the various treatment options, their effectiveness, duration of treatment and possible consequences (including residents living near the plan area or nearby clean land) were not presented to the committee and were not discussed. Hand".
The court further ruled: "Priority for the treatment of complexes where contamination will be found, selection of treatment alternatives for the pollutants and regulation of the establishment and operation of purification facilities for this purpose (if required), examination and balance of diverse considerations (health, environmental and economic) and determination of appropriate guidelines. One way or another. "
He finally ruled that these were "planning decisions that could not be left to the executive stage."
The right to a clean environment
Legal and environmental experts explain that this precedent-setting ruling brings with it a real line in anchoring human rights to an adequate environment.
As clarified in the state's response to the Ramat Hasharon petition and the Herzliya municipality, "the government, like any rational body, is not interested in entering into a project costly and other inputs without minimal planning certainty about the final product of planning, especially answering the question of whether The costs involved in relocating the IMI complex and clearing the land. "
This means that the state will not reimburse the costs of purification unless it sees a real potential for profit.
This is despite the fact that IMI factories that operated under its auspices were the ones that caused the pollution.
The Supreme Court ruling requires the planning authorities, and thus the state, to act in a different planning model that will in one way or another lead to the internalization of purification costs before the profit potential is determined, in order to enable the development of contaminated land in the future.
Advocate Fristik questions the possibility of implementing environmental plans, especially with regard to soil contamination. The budgets allocated to these programs are not transferred to local authorities, so they have no capacity to implement them. An example of this is the duty imposed by the Ministry of Environmental Protection on developers who build in places where there is a fear of ground gases. "The protocol for protecting homes, which includes sealing guidelines and air exchange facilities, has been published by the ministry, but those who are actually supposed to ensure implementation are the planning and construction authorities of the local authorities and their inspection bodies, and this does not always happen."
An unusual example is seen in the Beit Hakerem complex in Jerusalem, which was evacuated in the mid-1990s.
During the evacuation of the compound, environmental surveys were conducted to examine the soil and groundwater.
The findings of the surveys led the authorities to promote actions to purify the soil and groundwater, which turned out to be very polluted.
The decontamination operations, which began in the 2000s and were carried out in 3 different rounds, were not successful, and the soil remained contaminated and contaminated.
In 2019, restoration work began on the complex for the fourth time.
These works were completed only recently, in the hope that they were carried out successfully.
Encouraging news: As of November 2020, approximately 6,300 tons of contaminated land have been evacuated from the site.
Stopping the spread
You must be wondering if this could affect your current place of residence, and not just the future housing market.
The answer to this is yes, and we will demonstrate this by reviewing two additional IMI complexes.
The Givon IMI plant was established in the mid-1960s.
The complex covers 1,000 dunams on the eastern edge of the coastal aquifer, south of Ramla, between Moshav Matzliach and Moshav Yashresh.
According to the Phase A report to assess the extent of water source pollution, published by the Water Authority in 2012, the plant is engaged in the development and production of weapons systems in accordance with the IDF's operational needs, including the development and production of rocket systems. This is done through the massive use of various chemicals, including hazardous substances such as perchlorate. Like other IMI plants, this plant also used septic tanks, thus severely contaminating the coastal aquifer.
In the State Comptroller's report for 2013, entitled "Aspects of Environmental Protection in the Defense Industries," the Comptroller stated that all factors related to pollution pollution from Givon IMI had failed miserably. Givon, failed to treat these infections, each in his own field.
"This is a serious defect, which has been going on for years, despite the danger to public health, the damage to natural water sources that are in short supply and the cost of rehabilitating the water sources is increasing due to the continued spread of the pollution."
Despite the severe warnings and numerous reprimands, state authorities have not acted to minimize pollution and halt its spread and will not budget an action plan led by the Water Authority.
The pollution plume, which was moving rapidly westward, was discovered in wells for agriculture in the streets and wells of the Weizmann Institute, about 5 kilometers west of the plant.
At the time of the discovery of the perchlorate in these wells, the Ministry of Health began imposing restrictions on the use of water on farmers and the Weizmann Institute.
The Weizmann Institute is required to establish a water improvement facility, at a cost of tens of millions of shekels.
That is, the state's response to the pollution it has created is by imposing restrictions and tasks on the victims of the pollution, and not by taking direct responsibility for its actions and omissions, as required of any body causing the pollution, according to the known environmental rule - the polluter pays.
This rule enters the Israeli legal system at the back door. It should have been enacted in primary legislation, as proposed in a land rehabilitation bill (which was stopped in a second reading in the Knesset as early as 2011), which seeks to impose direct responsibility for land purification on those who created the pollution.
This rule has many purposes, the main ones being social justice and social efficiency, by charging the polluter to internalize the costs of pollution. It is not surprising that the bill was not advanced, with the state being most responsible for soil and groundwater pollution. Passing the law means investing huge budgets to deal with state failures.
This is exactly what the Weizmann Institute and the Rehovot Municipality petitioned the High Court of Justice last August. The petition, which was filed by Adv. The Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Water Authority, the Ministry of Health and Netzer Hasharon will act immediately to promote a plan to purify the groundwater contaminated by the Givon IMI activity, before irreversible damage to the aquifer and wells from which residents drink.
The consequences of the failures will not go away on their own, the pollution will not be purified on its own, and the imposition of responsibility on the end factors will not lead to environmental social efficiency.
Failure to take responsibility will only deepen the rift, increase pollution and consume natural resources - land and water, which are important for the continuity of life in Israel.
In its response to the petition, the state explicitly acknowledges the existence of groundwater pollution from the Givon IMI area, as well as the fact that the factory lands are contaminated and treatment of contaminated soils is required.
The state noted that it had begun preliminary proceedings to advance a rehabilitation plan, and therefore sought to re-update the court shortly as to the finding of the budgetary source for the implementation of the plan.
We will return to the effects of Givon IMI contamination.
NAP 3003 is a plan to build a new residential neighborhood, which will include 6,920 housing units alongside employment and commercial areas. The plan will be built on agricultural land on the eastern side of Rehovot, between Road 40 and the Weizmann Institute area.
The Water Authority, which has been crying out for more than a decade to find a budgetary source for groundwater purification in this section, wants to link NAP 3003 to the groundwater rehabilitation plan, a welcome plan in itself, which will promote aquifer restoration. To and on landowners in these territories.
Too polluted to populate
Another and last complex through which we will demonstrate the helplessness of the state is the IMI Magen complex, which was located in Tel Aviv.
Weapons were made in this factory, and pollutants were absorbed into the soil through the septic tanks.
The complex covers 44 dunams and is located in one of the most sought after areas in the country.
The plant was evacuated in the mid-1990s, but the heavy pollution did not allow it to be inhabited.
In 1999, a tender was published for the purification of the land in the Magen complex, but in view of the failure to find the source of the budget, the tender was canceled.
In 2000, Adam Teva VeDin petitioned to oblige IMI, the Ministry of Defense and the Israel Lands Administration to act to clean up the land.
In response to the petition, the State Attorney's Office announced that IMI would be given financial permission to begin clearing the compound soon.
Only last May, about 20 years later, LDD Advanced Technologies entered into an agreement with the Tel Aviv Municipality to carry out works for the treatment and purification of soil and groundwater, which are estimated to last about 25 months.
Tel Aviv monitors the presence of toxic gases frequently, and requires a place where there is a concern about the presence of ground gases for protection according to the procedure for protecting buildings from ground gases.
As can be seen from the Tel Aviv city website, the activity at IMI Magen has greatly contributed to the presence of polluting ground gases in Tel Aviv.
In order to deal with the environmental damage created by IMI, a government company called Netzer Hasharon was established in 2016, with the aim of working to evacuate, clean up and rehabilitate complexes in which security plants and classified facilities operate or have operated in the past, including IMI factories.
The company conducts research and treatment of contaminated soils, purification, demolition and evacuation of contaminated structures and research and rehabilitation of contaminated groundwater in complexes used by IMI.
In recent years, most of Netzer Hasharon's activity has focused on treating the contaminated soils in the Ramat Hasharon IMI.
Netzer Hasharon employs experts in the field of the environment and works subject to the professional guidelines of the Ministry of the Environment.
It is a state-owned state-owned company, with no external sources of funding, operating in accordance with budgetary authorizations and in accordance with government decisions on the manner and order of purification of the establishments.
This makes the company less effective.
The examples given above show that the State of Israel does not act to address its environmental shortcomings and often does not find budgetary sources for this.
As the report said critics of the state on the issue, all this and more known the country for many years. Claims on behalf of citizens, municipalities, associations and organizations casualties environmental pollution are a pretty weak to cope with the ever taking the responsibility of the State of Israel on pollution created.
It seems that the authorities repress The real need to find a real solution for the purification of the ground and groundwater. With each passing day the environment becomes more and more polluting. The initial amounts of pollution were known more than three decades ago.
We asked for a response from the Ministry of Defense, which trusts the old IMI.
We also turned to the new IMI, the Netzer Hasharon company.
No one is willing to take that hot potato and react.
In other words, as a senior official involved in the matter said: "What has been done cannot be answered."
Were we wrong?
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