01 June 2016
The Minister for the Environment, Deputy Steve Luce is considering Jersey Water’s application for a dispensation for Oxadixyl to exceed the regulatory limit in drinking water.
Val de la Mare is currently out of service due to levels of the chemical Oxadixyl in the streams feeding the reservoir. The Water (Jersey) Law 1972 requires Jersey mains drinking water to contain no more than 0.5 ug/l of pesticides overall and no more than 0.1ug/l of any one pesticide.
Jersey Water has applied to increase the limit for Oxadixyl in mains water to 0.3 ug/l for a period of three years, following recommendations from their advisor on water quality and health. This is still significantly below the WHO advisory health-based limit of 30 ug/l.
As the drier summer months approach, Jersey Water wants to begin using the reservoir again. Once in service, the company will continue to blend water from around the Island to offset the slightly higher levels of Oxadixyl levels in Val de la Mare.
However, on an occasion when the level of Oxadixyl in the treated water exceeds the regulatory limit, and when other methods to control the level of the chemical in the public water supply are not suitable (for example, when blending from other water sources is not possible), Jersey Water can use the temporary ‘dispensation’ or exemption to allow the company to use the reservoir without breaking the law.
Deputy Steve Luce and the Minister for Health and Social Services are considering Jersey Water’s formal application for a dispensation for Oxadixyl only and will make a decision in due course.
Deputy Steve Luce said “In order to allow Jersey Water secure mains water supplies in the event of a dry summer, I’m working with my counterpart in Health to consider Jersey Water’s application. We’re minded to grant it, but there’s a formal and necessary process to follow.
“This is not a step we will take lightly and my department and Jersey Water will be doing everything we can to ensure its use is limited, but this is a pragmatic response to the current ongoing situation.
“As I’ve said before, we will be addressing the longer term issue about the quality of our water because it isn’t acceptable, but in the meantime I want to assure people that ongoing testing shows our water is safe and clean.”