06 November 2020
A second interim report info the PFAS compounds in Jersey’s water sources has been published.
The report’s purpose is to keep the public informed of the progress of the work of Government, and other organisations, in managing the traces of PFAS compounds such as PFOS and PFOA which are found in water sources.
The report provides updates on the 18 recommendations set out in the first interim report, which was published in July 2019, and contains a further seven recommendations, which have been added as a result of comments from the public and worldwide developments in the understanding of PFAS.
The Minister for the Environment, Deputy John Young, set up the Officer Technical Group which has submitted the report after traces of PFAS were found in borehole water supplies at a private residence in December 2018.
Deputy Young said: “The first interim report marked a milestone in understanding the extent of PFAS pollution across the Island. It identified areas of particular concern and recognised the presence of PFOS and PFOA in the wider environment both here and around the world.
“Before the world became aware of the risk they posed, PFAS compounds were used in everything from pizza boxes to fire-fighting foam. They are present in water in tiny traces across the Island and will continue to be around for a very long time. They present risks, and will be an increasing challenge, and we are working to mitigate these risks wherever possible in order to protect our environment and safeguard important water resources.
“It is also important that we seek to better understand the historic pollution in St Ouen’s Bay by the Airport, and I have submitted a Government Plan funding request to enable hydrogeological studies of the St Ouen’s Bay plume and Pont Marquet catchment to be undertaken.
“The work of the Officer Technical Group will continue, and update reports of this important issue will continue to be published.”
The key points from the second interim report are:
- A system to enable anyone with a private water supply to have it tested has been developed, but very few households have made use of this.
- A targeted risk-based monitoring strategy is being developed. The data will inform long-term changes both around the Airport (where higher traces of PFOS have been found in water sources) and across the Island.
- Two sampled boreholes south of the Airport exceed the current drinking water limit, however the area is served by mains public water supply.
- More PFAS compounds are now able to be detected by UK laboratories, and key boreholes and streams in Jersey have been analysed. Jersey Water do the equivalent monitoring suite at key points in their raw water network and at the treatment works prior to public supply.
- Jersey Water:
- continue to sample public water and this remains compliant with all current regulatory limits
- are extending mains water to the St Peter’s Village area north of the Airport, giving the option for those households who wish to connect to the public supply.
- Ports of Jersey:
- have confirmed that they have moved to a fluorine free fire-fighting foam some time ago and no longer have stocks of any chemical containing PFAS compounds
- are undertaking a desktop study and sampling programme within the Airport to identify and remediate PFAS hot spots
- Preliminary discussions are underway with the leading experts in PFAS to identify and remediate PFAS chemicals
- Government Plan funding request have been submitted to enable hydrogeological studies of the St Ouen’s Bay plume and Pont Marquet catchment to be undertaken.