MARIGOT–Authorities tackling the water crisis on the French side have given an update on the potable water situation via a press release.
A working group composed of Water Management Authority EEASM, water provider and distributor SAUR, regional health authority ARS and the services of the Préfecture was created following the appearance of bromates in the distribution network. The objective is to share information, coordinate actions and enable integrated management of the crisis.
The last meeting was held on July 8. On this occasion, a number of measures were defined to restore drinking water quality and drinking water standards. It should be recalled that as the problem has not been widely identified on a global scale, St. Martin is a pilot territory in this management. In this sense, the measures taken will evolve according to the analytical feedback on water quality and in constant concern to preserve public health.
From the first detections made, EEASM focused on increasing the quality control of the disinfectant (sodium hypochlorite), reviewing storage conditions, and implementing a continuous chlorine analyser that will allow instant disinfection management. A substitution of this disinfectant by chlorine dioxide, which from experience allows a substantial decrease in bromate levels, is planned.
It should be noted that while many studies exist on ozonation and its proven impact on the development of bromates, the disinfection process in St. Martin is based on a combination of chemical disinfection and ultraviolet (UV) light, and not on the ozonation principle.
Ph (water acidity) is one of the parameters that influences water chemistry and transformation of bromides into bromates. This factor is therefore adjusted (without any consequences for health or public or private facilities) and will allow a decrease in bromate levels. Again, these modifications are based on water quality analysis feedback.
Reverse osmosis water production requires the use of membranes. Last week SAUR carried out a change of part of these membranes on one of the two production lines in operation, to carry out qualitative tests. The experiment will make it possible to correlate this membrane change with a desired drop in bromide levels.
It should be noted that these production management parameters had already been identified by EEASM and integrated into the system when it was renewed through changes in maintenance protocols and equipment changes. As already mentioned, the production equipment is subject to a necessary “refurbishment” which was planned before the appearance of bromates and which is part of the time frame.
Following these first adjustments, the next tests will take place in mid-July. EEASM, in accordance with its transparency policy, will make the results available to the public and will convene the dedicated working group to decide on possible corrective actions. All stakeholders remain mobilised around the bromates issue and continue to work actively to restore water quality throughout the country.
The distribution of bottled mineral water by SAUR continues to reach the most vulnerable persons in close collaboration with the Collectivité. Broader distribution solutions are under consideration if the crisis persists. ARS is studying the adequacy of the measures taken since the beginning of the crisis. Under the precautionary principle, the results will soon be transmitted to make it possible to adjust the measures.