Jersey Water is supporting a pledge by the Minister for the Environment to consider the introduction of measures to regulate herbicide and pesticide use. The pledge comes after testing by Jersey Water has found traces in a number of streams and water catchment areas.
Treated mains water is safe for consumption. Jersey Water have diverted the affected streams and taken one reservoir out of service and is ensuring that any concentrations are well within safe drinking limits through the selection and blending of water resources.
The company’s routine testing of streams and reservoirs has identified the localised presence of Oxadixyl, Linuron and Metribuzin. None are at concentrations which would give cause for concern from a health perspective. Oxadixyl, was used as a treatment for potato blight in Jersey between 1991 and 2003 when its use was discontinued in Jersey and the EU. Linuron and Metribuzin are currently used in the agriculture industry.
Helier Smith, Jersey Water’s Chief Executive said: “It is important to stress that treated mains water is safe for consumers and the current situation presents no risk to public health.”
“We test for over 100 parameters on a regular basis and it is not unusual for us to occasionally identify pesticides in stream water. In these instances, it is standard practice for us to take that stream out of service until the substance has disappeared. What is unusual with Oxadixyl is that it is still present even though it hasn’t been used in Jersey for 13 years. We’ll need to look at other ways of removing it through treatment and are working with our specialist advisers to find a solution.”
“Jersey is a small island where homes, farms, businesses, light industry and leisure facilities all exist in close proximity to streams, boreholes and reservoirs. These activities can have a significant effect on water quality, even years afterwards. We work closely with the Environment Department to ensure water resources are adequately protected. However, it is clear that further action is required to reduce the risks that pesticides and fertilisers present to the Island water resources on which we all rely. We welcome the pledge by the Minister for the Environment to consider the introduction of measures to improve the regulation in this area.”