Exploratory research into soil and groundwater contamination


The Dutch Ministry of the Environment in collaboration with the Department of Nature and the Environment of DROB currently has commissioned an exploratory research into the contamination of the soil and groundwater on the three islands of the Caribbean Netherlands. The research is needed to determine the nature and extent of contamination. Also the risks for humans and the ecosystem will be mapped.

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It is also the intention to develop a soil policy specifically for the islands. Dutch norms and policy are not directly applicable due to the difference in circumstances.

Because there is little industry present on the islands, researchers expect the risks for humans to be less than expected. On various locations in Bonaire about thirty soil drillings are being performed up to five meters deep. A list of sites was prepared with the assistance of staff of the DROB and Polis Ambiental (Environmental Police). Soil and groundwater samples are taken at the trenches on the LVV-site where wastewater is discharged, the waste dumping sites at Lagun and Morotin, the WEB-site, airport, radio stations, garages, carwashes, paint shops, gas stations, dry cleaners, the asphalt plant and other locations. Also locations where these types of activities used to take place are investigated. Businesses subject to license obligations where there are possible soil risks such as Bopec and Curoil, will have an own responsibility and obligation to conduct soil research once the Caribbean Netherlands Public Housing, Spatial Planning and Environmental Management Act enters into force.

The researchers take samples of the soil and groundwater at every soil drilling for further analysis in the Netherlands. A level indicator will be placed at the location of the soil drilling. That is a lockable hollow tube that makes it possible to take groundwater samples again in a simple way in the future.

The results of the research will be available in about eight weeks.

The research is conducted by Management & Independent Consultancy N.V. (MIC) in collaboration with Grontmij Nederland B.V. and Damascus Heavy Equipment Rentals N.V.