La Collette toxic waste disposal (FOI)
La Collette toxic waste disposal (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 23 May 2023.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
I have concerns that the toxic mound being built, apparently illegally, on the La Collette reclamation site will be leaching harmful chemicals, including lethal asbestos, into the surrounding waters in Havre des Pas and the harbour area, which will then be dispersed across the whole of St Clement's bay area and possibly St Aubin’s bay.
What measures have been taken to ensure the safety of islanders, in particular those who will eat potentially contaminated fish and shellfish and with the Summer coming, those who will use the sea for leisure purposes?
How regular are tests conducted of the surrounding waters, including the marine life therein, and where can these test results be accessed?
A and B
In relation to the receipt and deposit of asbestos waste at La Collette, this is received by a specialist contractor, licenced by the Health & Safety Inspectorate to handle the material safely.
It is deposited into a lined cell to ensure the fibres cannot escape into the environment.
The reception site is licenced under the Waste Management Law (Jersey) 2005 and operates to a working plan and method statement that is reviewed every 4 years, or whenever there is a change in legislation.
Pollution monitoring and waste acceptance reports are submitted to the regulator on an annual basis.
Monitoring for airborne asbestos fibres was carried out fortnightly during asbestos waste reception until December 2022 and quarterly thereafter as there is data available from the previous decade demonstrating that the control measures used to protect the surrounding environment are effective.
With regard to the La Collette site itself, contaminated waste is deposited within sealed engineered cells. Such cells are bounded by impervious geotextile liners designed to retain any leachate (contaminated water) arising within a cell and to prevent ground water (including seawater) from contacting the waste.
Leachate levels within the cells are monitored and the leachate is pumped out for treatment at the sewage treatment works.
To demonstrate the integrity of the cell liners and site activities, a monitoring programme is undertaken, quarterly, six monthly or annually. Samples are collected from a number of locations which include sea water points, groundwater boreholes, dip tubes and the seawater lagoon within the inert waste area.
In respect of metals, each sample is analysed for: Arsenic, Cadmium, Chromium, Copper, Iron, Lead, Manganese, Mercury, Nickel, Zinc and Vanadium.
Samples are also analysed for determinants: Nitrate, Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Total Suspended Solids (TSS), Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), Chloride, Sodium, sulphate total phenols and total petroleum hydrocarbons.
Each year the sample results are formally reviewed, by an external environmental consultancy to ensure an independent evaluation of the sampling regime. Where appropriate results are compared with limits set out in the Water Framework Directive.
Further information regarding this can be accessed on the sites linked below.
Water Framework Directive (europa.eu)
EUR-Lex - 02008L0105-20130913 - EN - EUR-Lex (europa.eu)
The initial operational water quality monitoring plan can be viewed on gov.je:
La Collette Water Quality Monitoring.pdf (gov.je)
The La Collette waste site has published waste acceptance criteria for receiving waste to ensure that all contaminated waste is deposited in the sealed engineered cells:
Classifying waste for disposal at La Collette (gov.je)
In addition to the monitoring at the La Collette waste site, marine and near shore, sea water sampling is in undertaken regularly within St Aubin’s Bay.
There are a number of programmes measuring different chemical and biological parameters at different frequencies to inform the environmental status assessment of the bay.
Shellfish and seaweed sampling for heavy metals is undertaken biannually for heavy metals at the following locations: Havre des Pas, Elizabeth Castle, St. Aubin’s (west side), Gorey and Corbiere.
Additional biannual sampling for slipper limpets is undertaken offshore at the Ecréhous, St Aubin’s Bay and Horn Rock (out from Grouville Bay).
Bathing Water (sea water) sampling is undertaken on a weekly basis from mid-May to mid-September for enterococci and e-coli (microbiological indicators) at the following locations: Havre des Pas Pool, Victoria Pool and La Haule. Further information is available on gov.je and can be accessed using the following link.
Sea water monitoring (gov.je)
The sea water monitoring information linked above shows a standard against EU Bathing Water Directive, i.e. water quality is either excellent, good or poor.
This is the benchmark against which UK beaches are referenced and results from Jersey are submitted to the Marine Conservation Society for inclusion in the UK Good Beach Guide.
Bathing water data is provided to Public Health each week. If the results are poor, they will notify the media recommending swimming is not advised. Signage would then be provided at the relevant bays.
Information on seawater monitoring, including heavy metals, is covered from page 29 in the Marine Resources annual report
Marine Resources Annual Report 2020.pdf (gov.je)
Outfall Monitoring for a range of parameters including some metals is undertaken quarterly at the following locations: St Aubin’s Harbour, Mark Jordan at the Beach, Gunsite, Millbrook, First Tower (including Bellozanne Sewage Treatment Works), Gloucester Street and the Weighbridge.
Environmental monitoring is also conducted in marinas and harbours. Further information can be found on gov.je:
Environmental monitoring of Jersey’s marinas and harbours (gov.je)
Monitoring for heavy metals around Jersey started in 1996 and, as described above, requires taking samples from the intertidal and shallow marine environment twice a year (i.e. each intertidal and offshore site is sampled every six months). The species monitored include Serrated Wrack (Fucus serratus), Common Limpet (Patella vulgata) and the Slipper Limpet (Crepidula fornicata).
These are species known to accumulate trace metals into their soft tissues and are therefore appropriate to use to temporally and spatially monitor trace metal change.
Monitoring is conducted across several sites to the south and southeast coast of Jersey for six trace metals in order to assess whether heavy metal concentrations in species from the sites adjacent to the waterfront reclamation site (Elizabeth Castle and Havre des Pas) are increasing relative to far away control sites (St. Aubin’s Bay, Corbiere and Gorey). The heavy metals tested for are Cadmium (Cd), Lead (Pb), Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn), Chromium (Cr) and Arsenic (As).
Collected samples are analysed at the Government of Jersey laboratory and results published in the Marine Resources Annual Report, a copy of the latest report from 2021 is attached.
Marine Resources Annual Report 2021.pdf
Links to the previous reports are provided below.
2020 Annual report
Marine Resources Annual Report 2020.pdf (gov.je)
Reports prior to 2020
Fisheries and Marine Resources Panel (gov.je)
Analysis suggests that levels of heavy metals are similar at all sites and that the long-term trend for all the measured heavy metals is downward. There is no difference between level measures at Elizabeth Castle and Havre des Pas (closest to the reclamation site) and other sites. The below graph shows the trend for lead since 1996 (see Annual Report for further details.)
The full heavy metal dataset is large, and the Marine Resources have no objection to it being released outside of government. Marine Resources have recently undertaken a full statistical analysis of the data and are in the process of creating a report which is intended to be published before the end of 2023. Further information can be obtained from Marine Resources either via the Annual Report or by contacting them directly: