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Super League Triathlon officials 'keeping watch' on marina pollution

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OFFICIALS responsible for bringing Super League Triathlon to Jersey say they are keeping a close eye on the state of the Waterfront following heavy-metal pollution of Elizabeth Marina.

Potenially dangerous levels of heavy metals, including lead, have leaked into Elizabeth Marina following recent high tides, which flooded a neighbouring construction site Picture: ROB CURRIE (24396472)

Contaminated water has been seen running into the area used for the swim discipline of the multi-million-dollar global sporting event in recent weeks, after high tides flooded a section of Jersey Development Company’s Horizon site which is undergoing excavation work for an underground car park.

The States Official Analyst’s laboratory conducted tests on marina water samples collected by Earth Project Jersey and found that the concentration of lead – potentially harmful if consumed – exceeded ‘normal sea water’ levels by 1280%. There are also concerns that mercury could have leaked into the marina, although tests for that metal have not yet been conducted.

‘We have started planning this year’s event and we’re watching the situation closely,’ said Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham, who has authorised the use of up to £250,000 a year to host SLT until 2022.

‘We’re not unduly concerned at this stage and we’re quite lucky in that we have big tidal movements, so the marina is effectively washed every day.

‘Relevant inquiries are ongoing ... they [the Environment Department] are treating it as a high priority.’

However, the UK Water Pollution website warns that lead is ‘a non-biodegradable substance so is hard to clean up once the environment is contaminated’.

Earlier this week the Environment Department added a green tracer dye to the excavation site to ‘identify an alleged pathway’ of polluted water. It is said to have been seen running into the marina about 40 minutes later.

Flooding of the Horizon site occurs during high tides exceeding 35 feet, which are due to return on Thursday 18 April.

Figures published following the latest SLT event, which brought the sport’s greatest names to St Helier in 2018, suggest it generated over half a million pounds for Jersey’s economy.

Jason Fox

By Jason Fox
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