Fossa emptying costs

Dear Editor,

I have a complaint concerning my sewage removal. My house does not have mains drainage, we have a fossa, which needs to be emptied twice a year. 

My water is supplied by the Câmara Municipal de Lagoa, and the supply contract stipulates that the Câmara is to empty my fossa twice a year, free of charge. This they did in 2016 and again in February 2017, taking four loads of sewage each time from my fossa.

When I applied for the fossa to be emptied again, I was told by the driver that he was instructed to remove only one load of sewage, which is less than a quarter of my fossa. He said that if I had a complaint with this, I should take the matter up with the Câmara.

I complained to the Câmara and was told that this is the new rule. The lady I spoke to on the reception desk was very understanding and helpful and even called down the Secretary to the President to discuss the matter. They agreed that “what I had paid to receive, should be included in what is taken away”.

I understand that all residents of Lagoa pay the same rate for water, whether they have a mains drainage system or whether, like me, they have a fossa. Effectively, this penalises those of us who do not have the benefit of mains drainage, as we have to pay for our sewage to be removed, at a cost of over €100 for 20 cubic metres. 

There are parts of Lagoa which are only now receiving a mains water installation, paid for with the benefit of EU grants. However, I doubt whether these areas will ever have mains drainage installed, so it is evident that the problem of emptying fossas is quite extensive.

I realise that the cost of sewage removal is significant, but this cost should be incorporated within the overall charges made by the Câmara for water supply and sewage removal services to all residents.

As such, it seems to me that the charges made for water supply services should be increased to allow for the cost of all sewage removal and treatment to be included within the budget for these services. There should be no additional charges made to any residents for the cost of sewage removal or treatment. 

It would be interesting to hear from the Câmara Municipal de Lagoa on their policy for this matter and whether there are any planned changes in a move to make charges fairer for all.

Also, how does the situation in Lagoa compare to other Câmaras in the Algarve?