Some Jersey water may be contaminated by slurry

There are fears drinking water for a number of homes in Jersey has been contaminated by farmers spreading slurry on their fields.

Water in two households on a street in St John has been tested and found to be too dangerous to drink, as it contained bacteria including E. coli.

Environment Minister Deputy Rob Duhamel said it was "troubling" and that his department was investigating the cause.

There is no mains water to the houses in the area affected.

Deputy Duhamel said: "It is troubling and annoying to know that the island has put a fair amount of expenditure into facilities for farmers to store slurry.

"It is a shame that here is another case of someone spreading slurry indiscriminately."

'Third world'

Trevor Barette, a St John farmer, disputed that the slurry was to blame, but said rules need to change.

He said there was a three-month ban, between October and January, on spreading slurry. This, he said, meant farmers had no choice but to spread it soon afterwards, as the stores were full.

Resident Paul Troy said he first noticed the "brown" water last month, when his 12-year-old daughter was running a bath.

"A week later, when we got the proper bottles from the analyst to fill up, the water was then crystal clear," he said.

"But when it was tested it turned out to have the E. coli bacteria in it, and the coliform bacteria, two types.

"We had a phone call from the States analyst to say 'don't drink the water' and since then we've been drinking bottled water and using bottled water to brush our teeth.

"It is like living in a third world country."

Mr Troy claims it has put his wife's life in danger, because she has a weakened immune system from a kidney transplant.

Phil Rondel, the Constable of St John, said he flagged up the problem to the environment department in February.

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