A river with contamination level 4,600 times higher than tolerated

A river with contamination level 4,600 times higher than tolerated

The Suquía River, which crosses the city of Córdoba (Argentina), presents after its passage through the city pollution levels that exceed 4,600 times those allowed by current legislation. This is revealed by a study carried out by the Centro de Química Aplicada of the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba at the request of the residents of Capilla de los Remedios, a Little town located downstream that suffers the consequences of the enormous level of degradation of water quality. The samples analyzed resulted in the amount of 23 million coliform bacteria per 100 milliliters of water, of which more than 9 million are of fecal origin.

The river suquia as it passes through Córdoba

The current regulations, Provincial Decree 847-16 establishes that effluents discharged into rivers can have a maximum of 5000 coliform units per 100 milliliters.

These figures confirm the degree of bacterial contamination of the Suquía River at a distance of 37 km from the Bajo Grande sewage treatment plant located in Córdoba, a plant that was expanded in 2011, but apparently insufficient for the demand of the population.


Earlier in 2012 studies warned about the seriousness of the problem. Research carried out by technicians from the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba and from the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (Conicet) showed that the Suquía presented a high contamination in the route that crosses the provincial capital. The research was published in the scientific journal Archives of Environmental Contamination.

In 2016, a study by the Centro de Química Aplicada (Cequimap) of the Facultad de Ciencias Químicas of the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba revealed the seriousness of the problem.

Pollution is not generated solely by effluents from the capital of Cordoba. San Roque Lake, a reservoir that provides water to 70% of the city, receives 8,000 tons of fecal material per year according to a report by the Laboratorio de Biorremediación Municipal (Municipal Bioremediation Laboratory) of Villa Carlos Paz. To this must be added other pollutants such as detergents and garbage of all kinds.

The drainage of San Roque Lake

The coast of Villa Carlos Paz on San Roque Lake

An urgent comprehensive sanitation plan for the Suquia river basin that provides drinking water to more than one million people is required.

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