Protection of Drinking Water from Groundwater Recharge Areas

Dutch speaking chamber on August 16, 2017

The Court of Audit examined whether the Flemish authorities have been dealing with the soil pollution near groundwater recharge areas of drinking water companies. Soil pollution can indeed affect the groundwater. The Court compared the situation in the protected areas with the rest of the Flemish Region, where the historical high level of soil pollution should be tackled by 2036. The analysis showed that the mapping of high-risk grounds by the municipalities leads to good results after 20 years for municipalities with protected areas, but not yet for the others. Decontaminations of high-risk grounds in protected areas were methodically examined and started on the initiative of OVAM (the Flemish public waste agency). The agency also developed a complete plan to further deal with high-risk grounds in the rest of the Flemish Region. However, this plan is being undermined, notably by the fact that the municipalities' inventories must be completed and because it demands considerable financial efforts.