canyon exploring with Michele Angileri

Gola di Muro

Once the village of Muro Lucano was simply called "Muro"; the adjective "Lucano" was added to distinguish it from another Muro, which is located in Puglia. The origin of the name "Muro" (Wall) is uncertain, but I would say that the name comes from the element of the landscape that best characterizes the village and its location: the impressive wall of the canyon of the river Pascone. Muro Lucano, in fact, stands overlooking the western wall of the canyon, which constitutes for it a formidable natural fortification.

Today that Muro does not have to be defended from attacks by armies and marauders, its canyon can be appreciated for what it is, for the grandeur, the corridors of rock, the majestic sceneries.

Name Gola di Muro
Area Basilicata
Nearest village Muro Lucano
Elevation loss 110 m
Length 2 km
Highest cascade 3 m
Rock Limestone
Rating2
Shuttle Possible
Explored by Michele Angileri, Andrea Pucci; june 22 2013

 

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I remember ...

Muro was built on the side of the canyon: inevitable that the latter suffer the impact of human activities.
A century ago the upper entrance of the canyon was closed by a reinforced concrete dam about 50 m high, for giving water to a hydroelectric plant (the first work of this kind carried out in southern Italy). The dam has severely altered the natural flow of water and debris that would be taken away by the floods were instead deposited on the bottom of the reservoir. The hydroelectric plant was stopped and abandoned after the earthquake of 1980, and currently the reservoir is empty.

In the 70's the canyon of Muro was used as a dump for municipal waste. In those years the waste management in Italy took place in a foolish, with open dumps often located on the banks of the waterways. In addition, once a month landfill site operators set fire to waste, and so a black smoke rich in dioxin poisoned the villages and the countryside, forcing people to keep their windows closed for a couple of days. Fortunately, over the years Italy has adopted more appropriate rules, and thus waste management is getting better and better. Dumps aside the waterways were all closed, and the incineration of waste is done only in special facilities designed to break down harmful emissions and harness the energy of combustion. However in the canyon of Muro still remain evidences of the felon use of the canyon as a dump: on the bottom of the gorge there are indeed a lot of iron scrap and heaps of plastic and rags.

Something similar can be told regarding the management of wastewater. On this issue we have gone from sewer dispersed anywhere in the territory to wastewater collection and treatment in dedicated plants. The spread and improvement of sewage treatment plants is having a positive influence on the health of waters of the Italian territory. For example, in 2012 the quality of bathing waters has improved by 4.8% over the previous year, resulting in higher than the European average. Much remains to be done but, I am convinced, the situation will continue improving.
Unfortunately, the purifier of Muro Lucano not yet cover the entire population. The sewage in some areas of Muro are sent directly to the Pascone, without being purified. So the final part of the canyon is achieved by a modest flow of waste water (0.5 l/s). The water of Pascone remains still suitable for bathing, even under the weak summer flow (the one you see in the picture) although water quality lowers from the point of arrival of sewer. In winter or spring the Pascone has a normal flow rate 10-20 times higher than the one in the pictures, and therefore the effect of this modest flow of wastewater should be totally unnoticeable.

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