Fluoride Action Network

PFOS in Guernsey: Airport fire foam pollution has reached the reservoir

Source: This is Guernsey | September 12th, 2009 | By Joel De Woolfson
Location: Guernsey
Industry type: Perfluorinated chemicals

A STREAM that runs from the airport to St Saviour’s Reservoir has been contaminated by a dangerous chemical, it has emerged.

Private wells and boreholes in the surrounding area were also polluted by perfluorooctane sulphonate – PFOS – after three incidents at the airport in which poisonous foam concentrate was spilled and soaked into the soil.

However, States experts reassured islanders yesterday that the island’s supply was perfectly safe and still among the ‘highest water standards anywhere in the world’.

Guernsey Water’s director of water services Andrew Redhead and director of public health Stephen Bridgman went as far as to say they had no reservations about letting their families drink local water.

‘Absolutely,’ Mr Redhead said. ‘The drinking water is safe and I need to reassure islanders about that.’

Dr Bridgman added: ‘I have looked at the evidence myself and had reassurances from the Health Protection Agency that confirmed the view I have taken that there is no risk to drinking water locally.’

The soil pollution was caused by incidents at the airfield in recent years including a major spillage caused by an Airport Fire and Rescue Service appliance overturning in 2002.

Public Services confirmed yesterday that it had instructed the Law Officers to assess whether the foam supplier can be held liable – Jersey accepted a £2.6m. payoff in 2005 from the manufacturer of a foam it used that also contained PFOS.