28 September 2015
Island residents are being asked to check their sheds and garages and hand in out of date garden chemicals following the discovery of a banned chemical in a stream in St Brelade.
Jersey Water and the Environment Department monitor the level of pesticides (which kill weeds, insects etc) in streams, reservoirs and ground water throughout the Island. They recently found traces of a chemical called simazine in a stream at Pont Marquet.
Jersey Water took the stream out of service to ensure no water reached Val de La Mare reservoir, but thousands of litres of water are currently being lost to the general water supply until tests show the stream is clear of pollution. There’s no risk to the public from the polluted stream or to the water supply, but the authorities want to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Simazine is a banned chemical
Simazine was used in common domestic weed killers and pesticides such as Pathclear, and to clear algae from ponds. It was banned for all uses – domestic and agricultural – in Jersey in 1993 and in the UK in 2002, and it’s illegal to store or use it.
Garden chemicals containing simazine and other pesticide ingredients were sold under a variety of different trade names. It’s often not clear from the label on the front what’s in the container, but chemicals may be listed elsewhere on the packaging.
The authorities have announced an amnesty on all banned chemicals that are used in private gardens to reduce the chance of further problems. The Environment Department and Jersey Water want to encourage people to hand in any garden chemicals that they think may be out of date or banned – without fear of prosecution. If you are in doubt, contact the Department.
Regular water monitoring
Land and Horticultural Development Manager, Iain Norris, said "Simazine is not dangerous to health in small quantities and thanks to Jersey Water’s regular monitoring, there’s no risk to our water supplies. Thankfully problems with outdated chemicals, and simazine in particular, are rare – the last one was at Greve de Lecq in 2010 and before that at Grands Vaux in 2003, but we want to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
"Please check your garden sheds and garages for any old bottles and packets of chemicals. ln all cases, if you’re unsure, please contact the Department and we’ll help you dispose of it in the right way – without polluting our water."
Chief Executive Officer, Jersey Water, Helier Smith said "The action of just one individual can have an impact on the water resources we rely on so heavily as a small island community. We’re not only losing the equivalent of two days water as a consequence of the contamination of the stream and its loss to the general water supply, but it costs time and money for Jersey Water and the public purse to deal with incidents like this. Please consider the wider impact your actions can have and take steps to safely dispose of banned chemicals and to make our supplies cleaner and safer."
If you find out of date or unidentifiable garden chemicals, don’t dispose of them yourself. Please email or telephone +44 (0) 1534 441600 and someone will get back to you to give you advice.
Email the Department of the Environment
The Department of the Environment and Jersey Water are working together on steps to improve water quality in Jersey. They’re working with farmers to reduce the levels of nitrates in water. Later this year a water plan for Jersey will set out proposals to further protect the quality of Island water supplies.