The expansion of a sewage treatment plant near Luxembourg Airport has been fraught with difficulties.
The problem of airport waste water has been known for many years and, according to the mayor of Schuttrange, it is not ignored, neither by the municipalities, nor the Minister for the Environment, nor Luxairport.
He refers to the enormous expansion of the Uebersyren sewage treatment plant, to which five municipalities, the Schrassig prison, and Luxembourg Airport are connected.
The recent pollution of the Birelerbaach with glycol, a product used to de-ice aircraft and the airport runway, shows how important this work is. It should also not be forgotten that this stream and the Syre River run through a nature conservation area.
Claude Strotz, a member of the Sports Fishermen's Federation, regularly documents the waste dumping and publishes the videos on YouTube.
He does not understand how this situation, which has been known for 20 years, is tolerated by ministers, mayors, members of the municipal executives, or even local citizens. He will continue to publish his videos until a "sustainable and effective solution" has been found.
According to him, two streams are already biologically dead. The Birelerbaach also carries the pollution to the Syre, which endangers the Natura 2000 area and the 50-hectare wetland that is largely located in the municipality of Betzdorf.
Its mayor, Jean-François Wirtz, is at a loss to understand. He points out the contradiction, explaining that on one side the Ministry is pushing intensive renaturation with an increase in biodiversity and the reintroduction of wild water buffalo, while on the other side, the Syre is suffering from the airport installations and "nothing is being done to solve this problem".
The buffaloes, which are part of a joint project between the Nature and Water Administrations, must naturally be protected from this pollution. Fences will prevent them from drinking water directly from the river and they will be redirected to troughs with fresh water to provide a healthy alternative.
Marianne Peters, a renaturation specialist, explains that "buffaloes prefer quality water anyway and will choose according to its taste".