The quality of mountain springs and lakes is seriously deteriorating – so how do mountain huts and other facilities in the mountains deal with waste water? E-coli bacteria have also been found in deep caves.
The Triglav lakes are well visited.
“Climate change greatly changes the carrying capacity and regeneration capacity of the water cycle in the mountains. Even in the Julian Alps, we encounter droughts in the summer that we did not have in the past. At the same time, as visitors to this area, we are causing ever-increasing pressure in the highlands and other mountain areas. Tourist activity is rampant in the highest parts of mountain,” the president of Cyprus Slovenia outlined the situation Matej Ogrin. The result is bacteria-contaminated water springs under the peaks, blooming of Lake Bled, feces-contaminated Sava Bohinjka, and so on.
The confluence of Sava Dolinka and Sava Bohinjka – this was the situation in mid-August.
“The existing practices of all stakeholders in our mountain regions lead in a completely wrong direction. The situation is rapidly deteriorating and we cannot find an answer on how to address these problems,” Ogrin added.
Miha Pavšek from the Anton Melik Institute of Geography pointed out the established connection of the Triglav glacier with the Vrata and Voje valleys – i.e. Sava Dolinka and Sava Bohinjka. “If clean water flows there, it will also be dirty. That is why it is really necessary to immediately regulate the waste water in the vicinity of Triglav,” he underlined. In this regard, the most problematic are the cabins with the largest capacity and number of visitors, such as the one in Kredarica.
Mountain home on Kredarica.
E-coli bacteria in the Ivačič cave
Pavšek also highlighted the measurements in the Ivačič cave directly below the Triglav house in Kredarica. The samples taken this year showed excess values of several elements, the most problematic situation being nitrates, where the value was exceeded more than four times. Last year, e.coli bacteria were detected in the only sample taken in this cave.
Lake in Triglav National Park.
The glaciers are thinning
At the same time, the glaciers below Triglav and Skuta continue to slowly disappear. Measurements taken in August showed a maximum depth of five meters on the Triglav glacier, and a little over eight meters under Skuta. Since the last measurements, both glaciers have thinned by three to four meters. Glacier patches are, among other things, important sources of water for Triglavski dom on Kredarica and Kranjsko koča on Ledine, and if in the following years or disappear in decades, both cottages will have problems with water supply, Pavšek is convinced.
Tourism also reaches the highlands and brings with it some problems, such as waste and waste water.
Limit the number of visitors to mountain huts?
“In the huts in the vicinity of Triglav, it is necessary to immediately, urgently and immediately arrange the drainage of waste water and ensure the watertightness of the fuel tanks for the aggregates. For some huts, it would be reasonable to limit the number of daily visitors, but it is also worth considering reducing the capacity of the mountain huts, which each have year of water and sewage problems,” said Pavšek.
Drinking water catchment for Kamnik is at risk
Vida Kregar from the Kamnik Caving Club highlighted the physico-chemical and biological analyzes of springs and watercourses within the Kamnik-Savinja Alps Waterway Network project. They covered more than 150 measuring points and were unpleasantly surprised to find that only a small part of the springs was absolutely free of bacteria, and the water was suitable for drinking in only about 40. In the rest, the e-coli bacteria appeared.
“We were convinced of the high level of biological contamination of the springs under the ski slopes, especially under Velika planina, which threatens the drinking water catchment for Kamnik, which supplies around 20,000 inhabitants,” emphasized Kregar. “Practice shows that the sewage treatment plants installed near the high-altitude mountain outposts are not designed for the operating conditions in the place where they are installed, and despite the efforts of the operators, they do not achieve the expected results. In fact, no drinking water flows from any of the biological purification plants,” he warned.
Lake in Triglav National Park.
Funding needs to be arranged
Miro Eržen from the Mountaineering Association of Slovenia highlighted, among other things, the modest financial resources available to mountain huts to deal with the problem. In 2010, the state awarded them three million euros in a tender, and last year another five million euros, also intended for energy rehabilitation. In doing so, he highlighted the example of Dobrač, Austria, which was converted from a ski resort during milder winters into a nature park at the turn of the century, and a new modern cottage was built in place of the old one. This project cost three million euros – that is, as much as was allocated to all mountain huts in Slovenia in 2010.
President of the Stara Fužina local community Bojan Traven however, he is convinced that the operators of mountain huts are making profits at the expense of the environment, they are not ready to invest in modern sewage treatment plants, as other companies do, and the residents of the Triglav National Park are suffering as a result. “Obviously we have no right to drinking water,” was critical.
As it turns out, it will be necessary to limit visits to our mountains and lakes in order to preserve them and our drinking water.
Director of the Triglav National Park (TNP) Tit Potočnik is convinced that solutions must be sought in dialogue with all stakeholders. “The visit must be limited, directed and thought about the capacities and the reservation system,” he underlined.
Kamniško Savinjske Alpe.
Source: Svet24.si by novice.svet24.si.
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