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Scheme to improve water quality in the east of the Island

Scheme to improve water quality in the east of the Island

Monday 10 March 2014

Scheme to improve water quality in the east of the Island

The quality of water in more than half of Jersey’s streams still isn’t good enough so the Environment Department and Jersey Water are working with local farmers in a bid to reduce water pollution from agriculture in the east of the Island.

The quality of water has increased considerably since the introduction of the Water Pollution Law. A decade ago just one in five streams had "good" or "excellent" biological water. Monitoring shows there are still important and necessary improvements to make so they are working together to tackle the problem of diffuse pollution – that's pollution caused by run-off from ploughed fields, bare soil, farmyard drainage or pesticides and fertilisers washed or draining into the water.

Domestic septic tanks can also contribute to the problem as can recreational activities in parks or on golf courses.

Environment say each source may only have a small effect on life in the water environment or to the water quality but together they can be significant.

This week they are starting a pilot project to improve the quality of water in Queen’s Valley reservoir. A team of environmental surveyors will be carrying out stream walk surveys in the tributaries that drain to the reservoir; looking for anything they think could affect the water quality and suggest possible measures to improve water quality.

Environmental Protection Officer Kate Roberts said it’s much better to reduce nitrates at source rather than chemically and expensively at the end of the process before it becomes drinking water.

She said: "We are pleased with the progress made in reducing water pollution incidents, but the environmental protection team, together with Jersey Water, now want to add to the good work we are already doing with farmers in the existing ‘Diffuse Pollution Project’ and take a new approach to identifying and solving the problem of diffuse pollution. This pilot project is targeting specific areas and will, we hope, identify the causes of any problems and propose possible improvements.”

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