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Guernsey Water insists drinking is safe despite glyphosate concerns

Guernsey Water insists drinking is safe despite glyphosate concerns

Friday 29 July 2022

Guernsey Water insists drinking is safe despite glyphosate concerns

Friday 29 July 2022

Guernsey Water is reassuring islanders that tap water continues to comply with legal limits for pesticides after the States announced a partial ban on glyphosate products due to concerns about their effect on the island's water supply.

The utility said it routinely tests water through catchment management and source selection schemes as well as carrying out pollution audits within water catchment areas.

Streams are also monitored to determine pollution levels and water is not collected and treated from any streams returning high readings for contamination. 

Pesticide levels in the Vale Pond - which holds 250 million litres of water - increased 65% between 2019 and 2020. Water has not been collected from the Pond in recent years.

Guernsey Water blames the increase largely on glyphosate. 

But Margaret McGuinness, Guernsey Water’s Quality Manager, said that “concentrations in the island’s streams are low when compared to other jurisdictions”.

DOUIT_picture_from_Gsy_Water.JPGPictured: Guernsey Water regularly tests multiple water sources to determine pollutant levels. 

Ms McGuinness added that “controlling pesticides at source is the most cost effective and sustainable method”.

“Therefore, to protect the island’s water resources, we encourage all land managers to follow good practice when applying any pesticides and fertilisers.”

She added that glyphosate is only one part of the problem, and any synthetic chemicals falling under the banner of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides or fertilisers can have a polluting effect on the environment. 

Guernsey Water is responsible for collecting, storing, treating and distributing water to over 25,000 homes and businesses. 


Pictured: Deputy David De Lisle wants to see a partial ban on glyphosate extended to a full ban.

Retail sale of products containing glyphosate will be banned on 31 October – but it will still be possible for accredited professionals to use it.

Retailers, such as garden centres, will be unable to import and sell products with glyphosate which are intended for amateur use, typically to control weeds on domestic properties.

The domestic use and storage of products will be banned on 31 December.

Deputy David De Lisle, a long-time campaigner against glyphosate, insists it should be completely banned to prevent contamination of the island's environment.

And he is not ruling out taking another Requête to the States' Assembly to propose a complete ban which would make glyphosate illegal when used by accredited professionals as well as amateur householders.


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