The infamous lake of sewage at Kandahar Air Field affectionately known as the “Poo Pond” is set to be replaced in June with a new wastewater treatment plant, said Karl Mahon, a spokesman for NATO.
“The current sewage treatment lagoon, as part of decommissioning, will be emptied and then filled in,” Mahon said in an e-mail. “Currently, there is no plan for use of this area of the site once decommissioning is completed”.
The cesspool goes by many names, none of which are suitable for print.
There is even a Facebook page where folks can talk about how bad it smells.
“If someone got pushed in there do you think they'd come out like the Joker, or get superpowers,” one person wrote on the page back in 2007.
Despite the complaints, there is no evidence linking the “Sewage Treatment Lagoon” to increased incidents of disease or other ailments, said British Capt. Maryse Lavoie, a NATO spokeswoman
“Water supplies on KAF are routinely analysed for bacteriological and chemical quality, including fecal indicators, to ensure it is safe for use and has not been contaminated,” Lavoie said in an e-mail."Routine insect surveys and pest management measures are also completed to control any risk from insect-borne diseases.”
“It must be noted that the odours emitted from sewage treatment plants, although unpleasant, do not directly equate to a health risk,” she added. “The conditions in KAF provide a very good standard of living and facilities for an operational environment.”
Still, as the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan has grown, so has the legend surrounding the cesspool. Rumors have swirled that a Special Forces soldier or a Romanian man actually swam in the cesspool on a bet, but officials have debunked both.
“There is no proof that we can find (that might not already be bound in some sort of compartmented access clearance) of any of our [special operations forces] warriors swimming in or otherwise sailing the dark seas of the Kandahar Air Field poo pond,” NATO spokesman Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale said earlier this month.