The Bossa Breach: Playa d’en Bossa’s Water Treatment Plant is Pumping Sewage Into Sea at 240 Times the Permissible Level for Human Contact

The Alliance for Water has criticised the Playa d’en Bossa treatment plant, Can Bossa, for releasing untreated waste into the sea, with a faecal content equivalent to sewage and 240 times the permissible level for human contact.

Can Bossa takes all of Ibiza’s cess pit trucks, in  addition to local sewage. It’s job is to treat the water and make safe. But according to the Alliance report it is being pumped untreated into the sea of the Salinas Nature reserve.

The Alliance for Water (Alianza por el Agua) made their findings public on the 5th September after their submariners had recorded video evidence of the deteriorated and leaking emissary (pipeline) on the 22nd August.

Playa d'en Bossa'a Water Treatment Plant Pumping Sewage into Sea
Playa d'en Bossa'a Water Treatment Plant Pumping Sewage into Sea

In the recording, which has been released publicly, it can be seen clearly that the emissary is in very poor condition. Several holes are visible through which the faecal matter is being released into the sea. The pipeline is also surrounded by suspended matter and the sandy bottom with pieces of plastic, “which alone demonstrates the malfunctioning of this sewage treatment plant” according to the Alliance.

“The presence of plastics shows that the sewage treatment plant has been able to discharge wastewater directly and without performing the primary and secondary treatments which are necessary for compliance with current regulations,” says the statement issued by the Alliance for Water.

The dumping area is located 1.4 kilometres from the coast, at a depth of 30 metres and is also located on the border of the Ses Salines Natural Park, an area protected by law for its important marine environment.

In the area studied by the divers, “there was a highly degraded marine environment, with a reduction or absence of Posidonia grasslands and a high proliferation of green and red generalist algae, epiphytic algae, high sedimentation and organic load on the seafloor.”, All indicative of a “high pollutant load”.


The Alliance for Water also carried out analysis that showed “values ​​that are much higher than those established by current legislation on sewage”. The three legal parameters applied in these cases “were significantly exceeded” as shown in the table below.

The levels of nutrients were also exceeded, which “signals the poor functioning of the Can Bossa treatment plant in the summer period of August,” the statement says.

It is perhaps the excessive faecal matter measurements that will raise most immediate alarm and concern among the public. In this test the result of 241,960 units of the bacterium Escherichia coli, “when the reference value for human contact according to the current regulations is 1,000” units is 240 times more than the maximum recommended for human contact, although the spokesperson of the Alliance for Water, Juan Calvo, did say that the distance between this point and the beach “is quite large and it does not affect bathers”.


In any case, the concentration of faecal matter detected at the point of discharge “is equivalent to that of raw sewage,” Calvo summarised.

He also pointed out that the Playa d’en Bossa treatment plant “is the one that receives the tankers which empty the septic tanks of homes on the island and, therefore, is subject to an additional pressure to purify sewage water.”

The Alliance for Water has repeatedly called for the introduction of a tertiary treatment in the Can Bossa plant to avoid these situations and give agricultural output to the water it produces. “This shows more than ever the need for this action,” said Calvo, who has also asked for the “replacement of the emissary” with a new one.

The Alliance plans to repeat these dives and analysis in the coming weeks to follow up on the situation.

For more information and details of the Alliance and their work, visit their website

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