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The sentence fell last month. “A ruthless rule”, says Vincent Le Meaux, president of Guingamp Paimpol Agglomeration (GPA). Dn a letter, the prefect of Côtes-d’Armor Thierry Mosimann notified him that the issuance of building permits was now prohibited in 18 of the 57 municipalities in his community : the coastal zone around Paimpol, the Pontrieux sector, the town of Bégard and the Guingampaise urban area.

Why did the state official do this

? Due to the obsolescence of collective sanitation networks and treatment plants in the area. “The Pont Ezer station in Guingamp, for example, discharges wastewater directly into the Trieux 90 days a year, during the rainiest months”, explains Gilles Huet, of the Eau et Rivières de Bretagne association, who adds: “Since the 1980s, the territories of Bégard, Lanvollon, Guingamp and Paimpol have welcomed new populations. But without, however, renovating the networks. And without increasing processing capacities either ”.

Douarnenez and the Gulf of Morbihan concerned

For the member of Eau et Rivières, “the State’s choice to better enforce environmental regulations is a step in the right direction.” An opinion that does not share the officials of Guingamp Paimpol Agglomeration who ask the prefect to relax his measure: “It is all our demographic and economic development that is blocked. This is not acceptable, ”protested Vincent Le Meaux last week. But are Guingampais and Paimpolais the only ones concerned? No, according to Gilles Huet who recalls that “at the end of last year, the prefect of Côtes-d’Armor has given notice to Dinan Agglomeration to bring the sanitation system of Pleudihen-sur-Rance into conformity “. “There is no local particularism,” adds Thierry Burlot, the vice-president of the Region in charge of the environment. “GPA’s territory is the first concerned, especially because of the norovirus which affected oysters.

But the problem is the same in the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel, where there are more than 100 overflows per year. The bay of Douarnenez or the Gulf of Morbihan are not spared either ”.

What can we do with 400,000 more inhabitants?

“In some areas, especially on the coast, there is only one water network, in which rainwater and wastewater are mixed. As soon as it rains a lot, the stations find themselves unable to handle this enormous hydraulic load. And everything goes to the sea, ”continues Thierry Burlot. For the one who is also president of the local water commission of SAGE Argoat-Trégor-Goëlo, “the work is considerable” everywhere in Brittany. “At Lannion Trégor Communauté, they plan to invest more than € 150 million in their sanitation network and wastewater treatment plants for the next ten years. For the whole of Brittany, we are spending more than two billion euros for the next decade ”. According to the vice-president of the Region, “for many years, local communities preferred to invest in cultural venues rather than deal with sanitation issues. But, today, there is an urgent need to act ”. Especially since, according to INSEE, Brittany could gain 400,000 inhabitants by 2040.

“For me, the issue of water will settle town planning issues tomorrow. The territories which will be able to develop are those which will have solved their sanitation problems, ”concludes Thierry Burlot.

* The Côtes-d’Armor prefecture did not respond to our requests

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