Problems With Wastewater System Forces Manuel Antonio Park in Costa Rica to Limit the Number of Visitors During the Next Months

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In June last year the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) announced that they had solved the problem with the sewage system at Manuel Antonio National Park in Quepos; however, the Ministry of Health closed access to the area known as Playa 3 last Saturday and through this Tuesday due to problems with the wastewater.

Today, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Environment and the Costa Rican Tourism Board made the decision of regulating the access of tourist during the next three months while they work n a permanent solution to this problem.

Even though access to Playa 3 was reopened today, the toilets in this sector are still out of order. The park is open and receiving visitors in its regular schedule, but they will limit the number of visitors to 1,300 a day.

Last year, authorities had explained that the problem was that the treatment plants installed back in 2007 had already run their useful life and had received limited maintenance; back then they solved the problem by separating the residue water coming from the kitchen areas, from the rest of the waste waters coming from the bathrooms, and sinks. The new wastewater treatment plant was installed in March 2017 and it included the installation of a new oil and grease trap. The investment was of $27,000.00.

According to Carlos Venegas, regional director of the Ministry of Health, the problem continues in part because there are areas were the water-table (underground water) is very high, which saturates the ground and complicates the proper flow of water to the tanks.
In addition to this, the number of visitors this park receives increases every year, currently this number is of over 400,000 tourists a year, and the infrastructure has not received the necessary upgrades.

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