Beaucens, France


The municipality of Aygue Rouye, along the road 9163 in the town of Beaucens, has been in a critical situation for many years. Active from 1973 to 1985, the Beaucens landfill counted more than 50,000 tonnes of buried waste from thirty municipalities when it shut down. It is located partly on the main bed of the Gave de Pau on its eastern and northeastern part and is bordered by the Hontamu stream. This watercourse is adjacent to the landfill and discharges into the Gave downstream of the site, which is facing floods during heavy rains.

We are in the middle of a planning project that doesn't make any sense.

The year 2013 is a black year (well, like others before it …). In fact, the strong floods allowed the Gave to infiltrate the landfill, thus releasing 40,000 tons of waste that dispersed through the currents downstream of the Gave and up to the ocean. This is the fate of all the water of our rivers and therefore everything they carry..

Today the banks of the river still bear the many stigmas of these floods. Faced by this environmental disaster, the Intercommunal Collective and Household Waste Treatment Syndicate (SIRTOM) of the Argelès-Gazost Valley, operator of the site until its closure, requests that work is carried out at the Syndicate Mixte du Haut Lavedan ( SYMIHL). The goal is to purge the waste buried and stored on the surface on the right bank of the Gave. To carry out this work, SIRTOM is requesting studies in the same year to estimate the volumes of waste to be treated at Fondasol.

In September 2014, in response to the environmental emergency, work was carried out to clean up the site, with the aim of cleaning up the remaining 11,000 tonnes of waste on the site. The work allowed to sort the waste, to rehabilitate the residual minerals as well as a terracing operation. The end of the work was scheduled for October 31, 2014.

However, the reality has not yet joined the ambitions …

The Surfrider Côte Basque chapter has been mobilized for a long time to raise awareness about the disaster represented by the landfill. Indeed, how can we tolerate a landfill drained by a watercourse that rots an entire environment over tens of kilometers?

For example, the Surfrider Côte Basque chapter organized an Ocean Initiative downstream from Beaucens in order to raise awareness among the population and to challenge the media through a river's bank cleaning operation. On October 4, 2014, nearly 130 people mobilized and, by combining their efforts, were able to clear hundreds of meters of banks.

On March 18, 2015, two new coastal defenders, Geoffroy Cassagne, and Fanny Sauret, from the Oh La La Eaux Vives leisure base (Montaut, 64), supported by the Côte Basque Surfrider chapter, decided to decline their long-standing commitment to the fight against this shameful source of pollution. The coastal defender issue has finally emerged.

From March 18 to 22, 2015, and within the framework of the Ocean Initiatives, the Surfrider Côte Basque chapter organized a descent of the Gave de Pau from the Beaucens landfill by joining the Adour then Anglet. This action was an opportunity to collect waste but also to raise public awareness through events (rafting descent, participatory workshops).

The actions put in place by the coastal defenders now make it possible for the municipalities to become aware of the fact that they are open to concerted action. The coastal defenders will remain attentive to the effective cleaning of the banks downstream of the old dump.

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