Action Lab: Bollaertbeek, Belgium

Sampling campaign confirms: plant protection residues in the Bollaertbeek

Sampling campaigns by the local environmental agency VMM and the local drinking water company De Watergroep during the past spring and summer show that the water quality in the Belgian Action lab is not good. The substance tests reveal that between 10 and 15 substance residues were exceeding the drinking water treshold of 0.1 μg / l. The found concentrations of the active substances were presented to the farmers in the action lab for each monitoring location

The local drinking water company de Watergroep closely monitors the water quality of the different catchments for drinking water extraction areas in the region, among which the Bollaertbeek, the Kemmelbeek and the Blankaartvijver.

WaterProtect: De Bollaertbeek

They take weekly samples just before the water ends up in their collection basins. The recovered concentrations of active substances are much higher in the Bollaertbeek action lab than in the nearby catchments of the Kemmelbeek and the Blankaartvijver. The catchment of the Bollaertbeek has more intensive crop production agriculture than the other catchments, what is reflected in the results of the monitoring.  

Water production

Because of the problem of plant production products exceeding the water quality standard the drinking water producer De Watergroep, halted the water production in its local water production centre.

By presenting these results to the local farmers in a clear and targeted way, Inagro (the action lab leader) hopes to raise the awareness and engage the famers to take action.

WaterProtect will develop a collaborative webtool that shows the water quality monitoring results in a user friendly way to the famers in the area, but this tool is still under construction. In anticipation of this viewer, the measuring results were presented in a local newsletter and in farmers meetings in a clarifying way enabling farmers to discover which of his crop protection products can be linked to the found concentrations in the water of the Bollaertbeek.

Cleaning places for the sprayers

Meanwhile, a farmers’ meeting in september revealed that farmers believe that the installation of washing and cleaning places for the sprayers could help to tackle the problems in the area. Another good measure that came up during this meeting is the construction of a grass buffer strips at the edge of the Bollaertbeek. By constructing such grass buffer strips, the risk of run-off and erosion of soil particles and co-washing plant protection products can substantially be reduced. A few farmers already agreed to construct such grass buffer strip on their fields.

WaterProtect: A gras buffer strip in the Bollaertbeek Action Lab
Grass buffer strip at the Bollaertbeek