The city has announced this together with the Public Waste Agency OVAM and the Agency for Care and Health. Residents near it should take precautions. Additional research should provide more clarity.
As a result of the soil contamination around the 3M site in Zwijndrecht, research into PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid) and PFAS (perfluoroalkyl substances, the broader group of products) is high on the agenda throughout Flanders. Alderman for the Environment Rick Brans (Open Diest): “After an initial exploratory investigation in June 2021, we have now received a notification from OVAM that more research is needed within the three demarcated zones around the fire extinguishing training area in Schaluinstraat, the site at Nijverheidslaan 13. and the old fire brigade site at the Verversgracht car park.”
The city recommends the following safety measures up to a hundred meters from the Nijverheidslaan 13 site and five hundred meters from the Schaluinstraat & Verversgracht sites: do not use well water as drinking water, not even for cooking, making coffee or tea and making ice cubes. Well water is also not desirable for watering the vegetable garden or filling the swimming pool. It is allowed for plants, washing the car, flushing the toilet and spraying the driveway.
Additional measures will be taken for a zone up to a hundred meters from Schaluinstraat. The elderly, children up to the age of twelve, immune-compromised people, pregnant women and women who want to have a baby or breast-feed should not eat home-grown fruit and vegetables, no eggs from our own chickens and no home-grown small livestock, such as chickens and rabbits. The residents also receive this information in a letter and on Friday 21 January they are welcome at an information meeting at 7 pm in the Lakenhalle. The General Hospital Diest is currently building a new building on the zone next to the site on the Verversgracht. “Together with AZ Diest, we closely monitor the results”, emphasizes Brans.