Two explorers with headlamps in a vast cave with speleothems and rocky terrain.

Maya Train Disaster: Cement Spill Pollutes Sacred Cenotes

The Federal Attorney's Office for Environmental Protection (Profepa) has confirmed the contamination of several caves in the Maya Aquifer due to a cement spill. The spillage occurred during the construction of support piles for the Maya Train's section 5 south, which runs between Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

Evidence of the cement spill was discovered in the Jaguar's Claw, Oppenhermer, Manitas, and Dos Balas caves. The cement was used to construct piles that will support the elevated viaduct where the train will run.

In addition to the cement contamination, solidified cement that fell into bodies of water within the affected caves was also found. There were also signs of rusting in the piles inside the caves.

Profepa's report also highlighted the collapse of a roof or vault of an unnamed cenote, as well as topographic changes to the caves due to the drilling for piles. Illegal water extraction, filling, and burying with stone material of an unnamed cave near the Manitas cenote were also noted. Scattered stone material remains were found on the aquifer mantle of a cave.

These findings indicate a violation of condition 26 of the Environmental Impact Assessment granted by Semarnat to the federal government for the construction of the Maya Train.