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Water quality update

28 April 2016

​Ongoing water sampling by the Department of the Environment and Jersey Water indicates that traces of pesticides are still being found but that the drinking water remains safe.

The Environment Department and Jersey Water increased their monitoring of surface water (streams and reservoirs) and ground water (boreholes and wells) following the detection of pesticides earlier this year in routine tests of stream water prior to treatment.

Officers from the Department of the Environment are continuing to monitor the levels of Oxadixyl across the Island and its impact on the water supply.

The level of Oxadixyl recorded in streams is increasing. This is in line with expectations that as the drier summer months approach, dilution from rainfall will be reduced. However, levels are still well below the precautionary health limit provided by an advisor to the World Health Organization.

The Minister for the Environment, Deputy Steve Luce said “Our ongoing monitoring programme shows that Oxadixyl levels in groundwater in boreholes and wells across the Island remains below the precautionary advisory health limit, which is encouraging.

“I’m also pleased to see a reduction in the other pesticide levels recorded in streams and reservoirs in the west of the Island. But traces of pesticides previously recorded in the west have now been picked up in the east, in Queen’s Valley and Grand Vaux reservoirs – most likely as a result of late potato planting in this area.

“As the drier months approach, one challenge will be that the streams and reservoirs will be less diluted by rainfall and Jersey Water may find it more difficult to blend water to keep pesticide levels below the precautionary standard of 0.1 micrograms a litre, so I shall be talking to Jersey Water to consider our next steps in the light of this.”

The Department of the Environment and Jersey Water are continuing to discuss pesticide use with representatives of the Island’s agricultural industry to reduce future pesticide breaches in untreated waters.

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