Freedom News

France: Sabotage at the sewage site

In a new communique, the Peasant Confederation has claimed responsibility for a fire that has shut down a controversial new effluent disposal site in Sorbiers, central France, which they say is draining poisonous waste into river waters.

The sabotage, which took place last week, is the latest escalation in a long-running dispute over a sludge treatment platform for urban water treatment waste, which advocates say is providing industrial compost for the region but has been denounced as a dangerous biohazard dumped on an impoverished Alps community by critics.

Operator Valterra has come under fire for its handling of the project both from local and government sources, having been fined for hydrocarbon pollution in January 2023 and facing accusations over heavy metal and drug content in its mulch, which is considered unfit for organic farming practices. Most damningly the facility, which is presented as watertight to avoid spillage into local water sources and rivers, is in fact anything but with residents able to show journalists evidence of spillage flowing directly out from the site.

In “Communique 5” regarding the fire which broke out at Valterra’s facility the Confederation noted:

“These recent sabotages testify to the determined resistance of the inhabitants of the Blaisance valley and surroundings against the toxification of their territory by an imposed industrial project: polluted sources and drinking water placed in danger, nauseating air and CO2 emissions from transport roads, agricultural soils contaminated by the spreading of toxic compost, etc.

“We reiterate our firm opposition to the operation of this site, which transports thousands of tons of toxic sludge from the (rich) south of the PACA region to an isolated (poor) corner of the Hautes-Alpes. In addition, the operator has repeatedly demonstrated, since autumn 2021, its inability to “properly” manage this toxic waste.”

It looks likely that attacks are set to continue as Valterra is doing little to assuage local fears. While it is currently processing 7,500 tonnes of sludge per year it has announced plans to triple production in the near future.

Pic: Fields near Sorbier, Loire, by Nanzig

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