Fuel storage and procedures at the Amaizin’ Maize have been significantly tightened up following an oil spill which affected water around Val de La Mare reservoir and St Ouen’s Pond.
Early last year oil leaked from a fuel rig owned and operated by La Hougue Farm 1975 Ltd, which operates the Amaizin’ Maize. The fuel ran into the stream that flows from Val de la Mare towards Les Mielles Golf course.
Quick action by Environmental Protection meant that staff at the golf course isolated their ponds from the stream before any contamination reached them, but some fuel did reach the Site of Special Interest at St Ouen’s Pond, the largest area of naturally occurring water in Jersey. Environmental Protection used oil absorbent booms and matting to absorb as much of the pollutant as possible and protect the rest of the SSI from contamination.
The stream water and local ecosystem was polluted and water quality in the affected stream went from good or excellent to poor. Water samples taken nearly a year later still showed evidence of some residual oil in the stream bed. However, water quality is now starting to recover, and there has been no long term impact on the plants and wildlife around the pond, according to the National Trust for Jersey.
An investigation by the Environmental Protection team showed the spill came from a oil tank used to re-fuel vehicles at the Amaizin’ Maize. A piece of kit had been changed and failure to follow an established re-fuelling procedure resulting in the stop valve on the tank being left open.
On February 22 2013, representatives of La Hougue Farm 1975 Ltd pleaded guilty to causing pollution under the Water Pollution (Jersey) Law, 2000 and were fined £1000.
According to Environmental Protection, La Hougue Farm (1975) Limited were co-operative throughout the investigation and have subsequently worked with Environmental Protection to improve the fuel storage and procedures at the Amaizin’ Maize.
Kate Roberts from Environmental Protection said: “Oils and fuels are damaging and persistent water pollutants that are difficult to clean up. Prevention is definitely better than cure.”
Pollution prevention advice for householders and businesses, and information on ‘oil care’ is available from the Environment Department by contacting their Pollution Hotline (01534 709535) or the States of Jersey website.