Nobody connected to the new sewers, but thieves saw an opportunity

It could have been written by Eugène Ionesco or been a Monty Python sketch, but instead, the following absurd story, reported by Főtér.ro, did really happen in a south Romanian village in the 21st century.

The municipality of the small southern Romanian village of Bobaia spent €300,000 of European Union funds seven years ago to build a complete sewage system, but in the time since none of its 300 inhabitants chose to actually connect to it.

The brand-new system is three kilometers long, and the leaders of the village must have been proud of it when it was finished. But later, they had to face the reality that the investment might have been a waste of money because nobody in the village actually wanted their homes connected to it.

“We couldn’t force people to connect. The reason is probably related to the money they should have paid for this new service.”

– the mayor of Aninoasa, Ilie Petroi, told adevarul.ro.

Unlike the inhabitants, thieves did see an opportunity

Moreover, even if somebody wanted to connect to it now, it wouldn’t be possible to operate the system because in the meantime, several of its components have been stolen, including two engines and several manhole covers.

The fact that the surveillance camera system was stolen from the treatment plant doesn’t make it any easier for the police to catch the thieves either.

The municipality now would like to restore the sewer system so it can function properly again in case anybody changes their mind and wants to connect to it. This has been delayed because due to debts, the municipality’s accounts had been blocked by the national tax office (ANAF), preventing the municipality from making the required contribution to apply for a European Union grant so that it could get the money needed to replace the missing parts.

The municipality has since successfully challenged the ANAF decision in court and managed to unblock their accounts. Now, they are preparing to restore the sewer system and hope that somebody in the village will actually want to connect to it.


Title image: Several elements from the sewer system, including manhole covers, were stolen, while no household in the village actually ever connected to the system. (Photo: Facebook / Aninoasa de Gorj)

Author: Attila Szoó