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Pesticide pollution exceeds EU norms
Luxembourg

Pesticide pollution exceeds EU norms

09.10.2014 From our online archive
Following a pesticide spill in Belgium in September, residue of metazachlor has been detected in Luxembourg groundwater, with several samples showing levels exceeding EU limits.

(CS) Following a pesticide spill in Belgium in September, residue of metazachlor has been detected in Luxembourg groundwater, with several samples showing levels exceeding EU limits.

While the water affected by the spill does not meet EU drinking water regulations anymore, the concentrations measured in the area do not pose a health risk to humans, including small children or other at-risk groups, or animals, a government statement said Thursday evening.

There is no “direct danger” posed by the substance, even in case of prolonged and regular intake, the Infrastructure and Sustainable Development Ministry, together with the Health Ministry, said.

It has been found that the pesticide has spread quickly in the water and only slowly breaks down once it reaches ground water.

At the same time, tests have shown that drinking water treatment has successfully eliminated pesticide traces in Haute Sûre lake water, which will be fed into the drinking water system from today. In the aftermath of the spill, the lake was cut off from the network in order for authorities to better be able to monitor the situation.

The water from the lake fed into the system meets all Luxembourg criteria on drinking water safety, the statement continued.

Additionally, Environment Minister Carole Dieschbourg and Health Minister Lydia Mutsch have applied to the European Commission to suspend some of its regulations, a measure foreseen in the EU drinking water directive.

This measure is limited in duration and needs to come with an action plan on how to meet the standards once again.

A pesticide monitoring programme has been extended to other sources of ground water in Luxembourg to be able to assess the situation country-wide.

In the long-term the ministries are considering a ban of the pesticide metazachlor, as well as stricter regulations on the use of pesticides in water conservation areas.

While authorities assure that drinking water remains safe for consumption, an information hotline for the public has been set up under the number +352 8002 80 80.