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81 Water Pollution Incidents This Year

There's been an average of one water pollution incident a day in Jersey so far this year.

The Environment Minister revealed that there have been 81 breaches of the Water Pollution Law in the past three months.

Deputy John Young gave a reassurance that drinking water has been unaffected.

The information came out as the Minister was being questioned about the investigation into possible contamination on the Waterfront.

Environment officers are looking at whether sea water that flooded the Horizon development construction site at high tide in February became contaminated.

Fresh fears were raised last week, along with criticism of the government department's response.

The department issued a statement on Tuesday, saying that it won't share any information while the probe is ongoing:

"Environmental Protection is continuing to undertake a full investigation regarding a potential breach of the Water Pollution (Jersey) Law 2000 at the Horizon construction site on the Waterfront.

"The investigation was triggered by a call to Environmental Protection Hotline on 21 February. A full investigation is being undertaken, including sampling of water quality.

This is an ongoing investigation and, as with all criminal investigations undertaken by Government regulators, a strict protocol is adhered to. This means officers cannot share information, or answer any questions, relating to the case with third parties, whether they be pressure groups, the public or the media. Sharing information risks affecting the integrity of the investigation and prejudicing Environmental Protection’s position in any subsequent court case.

Third parties who have requested information have been made aware of this position. Officers are gathering witness statements so that any evidence from third parties can be captured as part of the ongoing investigation.

All information provided to us through the Environmental Protection Hotline is investigated and treated confidentially."

That was met with anger and frustration from many members, including Deputy Russell Labey who pressed the Environment Minister on what tests have revealed.

However Deputy John Young says he can't go into any further details at this stage.

"Whether or not an incident actually crosses the line as far as exceeding pollution limits and in accordance with the circumstances I wouldn't be able to say. I'd want to look at the detailed evidence.

"I accept it's an unsatisfactory situation. I don't like that."

The Minister was then asked what measures are in place to stop further pollution.

"That site is a known source of contamination, it is known that the high tide comes throughout that site every day and anybody doing any construction below ground was obviously going to hit these problems, so those measures should have been in place.

"Whether or not they were in place at the start, I think that is something which is subject to an investigation, but I am now advised that those measures are being put in place, albeit it does appear, retrospectively."

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