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On 27 July 2011, the Jersey Evening Post were alerted by a member of the public that the sea had turned green in Havre des Pas. Chris Ambler, Chief Executive of the JEC, reportedly gave the impression in the article that it was simply a case of ‘water in water out’, and indeed with this test it was no doubt just that, with green dye added.

But Mr. Ambler did not mention that normally the water is treated on its journey with a biocide called Nalco Seatreat, which is used in dilution to keep the pipework clear of molluscs. The Regulator hopes to give a final discharge permit to the JEC for a new biocide which the JEC will be trialing in early September. As Seatreat is now banned by the EU, an alternative chemical, Mexel 432/336/, will be used. Although said to be less toxic than Seatreat, residual toxicity of treated waters for any organism must be taken into account by the Regulator.

Water turned emerald green around La Collette, St Helier   PICTURE: TONY PIKE  26/07/2011 REF:01272331.jpg Environment  Harmless dye to monitor water outflow from power station
Water turned emerald green around La Collette, St Helier
PICTURE: TONY PIKE, JEP, 26/07/2011
REF:01272331.jpg
Biocides are colourless in solution. Until the dye tests were carried out, the public will have been unaware that these chemicals are used and flushed into the sea, however diluted they may be. The dye tests have literally been illuminating.

The JEC have visually demonstrated what we have been worried about for years, not only about the path and possible effects of biocides entering the receptor (the Ramsar Area) but also about the paths and possible effects of heavy metals in suspension that we suspect have been leaching from the bottom of the ash pits for some time.

The water is heated up on its journey by both the JEC and the incinerator which share the pipework for cooling purposes, and when the incinerator is running, the water will be discharged at an approximate rate of 13.2 million gallons a day into the Ramsar Area with an average above ambient sea temperature of 8C.

How much?!

 

This is the volume of 24 Olympic sized swimming pools daily. The water is ‘dosed’ only at times of ebbing high tide which is sensible, but when the tide is out, heated water will still discharge onto the beach and this is worrying.

We have reliable reports that colonies of nereididae (small ragworms) that previously kept the beach oxygenated have died, and areas of sand have suffered and degraded. This is appalling. 

The stretch of beach from La Collette to the Dicq has in recent years been scoured by erosion caused by reclamation, and its overall character has changed for the worse.

As Dr. Mike Romeril (former Conservation Officer to the States of Jersey) remarked in a letter to the JEP on 25th September 2009: “I often pointed out that Jersey’s environmental mistakes were usually the result on many small changes adding up to an effect out of proportion to the small incremental changes that were not easy to appreciate at the time…I too share the public unease at the apparent lack of environmental consideration presently emanating from the States.”

Some good news

There is some good news, however. The Regulator has accepted our submission regarding the intake licence. He refused to renew the licence for biocide to be used to flush out the intake fan on the west side of the JEC complex.

This intake is close to the intake at Victoria Pier which is used to pump in sea water to the viviers. We have previously raised concerns that traces of biocide may enter the viviers and requested that the water be tested for biocide traces, but this request was refused.

However, the Regulator must presumably share our concerns as he is taking a precautionary measure in not renewing the licence.

On line (in brief) article carried by the JEP:

Chris Ambler, Chief Executive of the JEC, reportedly gives the impression in the article that it is simply a case of ‘water in water out’, and indeed with this test it was no doubt just that, with green dye added. But Mr. Ambler does not mention that normally the water is treated on its journey with a hazardous biocide called Nalco Seatreat, which is used in dilution to keep the pipework clear of molluscs.

The water is also heated up along the way by both the JEC and EfW plants who share the pipework for cooling purposes, and when EfW is running it will be discharged at an approximate rate of 13.2 million gallons a day into the Ramsar Area with an average above ambient sea temperature of 8º C. When the tide is out, the heated chemically treated discharge can not harmlessly disperse into open water as suggested. The Regulator, Dr. Tim du Feu, hopes soon to give a final discharge permit to the JEC for a new biocide, which they will be trialing soon. As Seatreat is now banned by the EU, an alternative chemical is necessary.

These chemicals are colourless. Until the dye tests were carried out the public will have in the main unaware that these chemicals are used, however diluted they may be. The dye tests have in this respect been illuminating and done us all a favour; the JEC have visually demonstrated what we have been worried about for years, not only about the path of the biocides into the receptor (the Ramsar Area) but also about the path of the colourless heavy metals in suspension that we suspect leach off the bottom of the ash pits.

Interestingly the dye photos match our photos of the brown toxic leachate released into the Ramsar area in the spring /summer of 2009 by the contractors building the incinerator, who had a massive problem keeping the site de-watered. They reverted to simply pumping the contaminated water out from the pit and thence to sea via the culvert. The brown stain of that extended leachate discharge is in exactly the same area as the green dye.

Dave Cabeldu SOSJ’s response to some of the comments on the article

Chris Ambler, Chief Executive of the JEC, reportedly gives the impression in the article that it is simply a case of ‘water in water out’, and indeed with this test it was no doubt just that, with green dye added. But Mr. Ambler does not mention that normally the water is treated on its journey with a hazardous biocide called Nalco Seatreat, which is used in dilution to keep the pipework clear of molluscs.

The water is also heated up along the way by both the JEC and EfW plants who share the pipework for cooling purposes, and when EfW is running it will be discharged at an approximate rate of 13.2 million gallons a day into the Ramsar Area with an average above ambient sea temperature of 8º C. When the tide is out, the heated chemically treated discharge can not harmlessly disperse into open water as suggested. The Regulator, Dr. Tim du Feu, hopes soon to give a final discharge permit to the JEC for a new biocide, which they will be trialing soon. As Seatreat is now banned by the EU, an alternative chemical is necessary.

These chemicals are colourless. Until the dye tests were carried out the public will have in the main unaware that these chemicals are used, however diluted they may be. The dye tests have in this respect been illuminating and done us all a favour; the JEC have visually demonstrated what we have been worried about for years, not only about the path of the biocides into the receptor (the Ramsar Area) but also about the path of the colourless heavy metals in suspension that we suspect leach off the bottom of the ash pits.

Interestingly the dye photos match our photos of the brown toxic leachate released into the Ramsar area in the spring /summer of 2009 by the contractors building the incinerator, who had a massive problem keeping the site de-watered. They reverted to simply pumping the contaminated water out from the pit and thence to sea via the culvert. The brown stain of that extended leachate discharge is in exactly the same area as the green dye.

 

The day Jersey’s sea went green – and why!
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