Environmental tribunal halts small housing project at poisoned spring

The Tribunal Ambiental Administrativo has frozen construction work at a 20-lot subdivision because the project may affect the local water supply.

The project is El Alto de El Tablazo between Copalchí de Cartago and Higuito de Desamparados. There are five springs in the area, and one of them made the news in July because someone put poison in it.

The Tribunal ordered the two municipalities to refrain from issuing permits for terracing or construction until a survey can be made to locate the springs and the ground recharge area.

The Tribunal also sought an evaluation from the Área de Conservación Cordillera Volcánica Central for the worth of some 16 trees that already have been cut on two of the properties, it said. The Tribunal will seek compensation.

When the spring was poisoned, service to 8,000 persons was halted, and the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados had to haul water. The Tribunal said there were multiple complaints filed about the project, mostly relating to the springs.

A map released by the Tribunal showed that the subdivision was platted directly on top of most of the springs.

All but one of the springs that are shown as triangles surrounded by a circle are within the boundary of the subdivision. A white triangle is an existing home.

All but one of the springs that are shown as triangles surrounded by a circle are within the boundary of the subdivision. A white triangle is an existing home.

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