In the Sarno basin, human activities have significantly impacted the riverine A 582941 and the water quality of the Gulf of Naples. The first attempt of Sarno River decontamination was in 1973 with the Special Project 3 (SP3) sponsored by Cassa del Mezzogiorno, a public body that was created to support the development of southern Italy. The purpose of this attempt was to restore good environmental conditions in the Gulf of Naples after a violent cholera epidemic; this restoration was primarily achieved through wastewater management. Thus, wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and the relative wastewater collection system were built. After approximately 40 years and 700 Million €, wastewater is still of great concern ( Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry, 2006).
Currently, few scientific papers exist regarding the Sarno River. These studies have investigated environmental riverine issues (Arienzo et al., 2001), as well as the neighbouring lands (Adamo et al., 2003), discussing hydrogeological conditions (De Pippo et al., 2008) or health risks that are associated with living near first law of thermodynamics (conservation) river (Motta et al., 2008 and Vigliotta et al., 2010). A comprehensive evaluation of environmental criticisms, their origin and future trends on this “not-to-be followed” example of the worst way a European river can be managed is currently missing.