Elevated levels of PFAS were found in Tongeren

Elevated values ​​of PFAS were also found in Tongeren after soil investigation. Measurement results around the fire station and at the former Nova site showed soil and/or groundwater contamination. We’ll have to wait a little longer for the results of the Ambiorix Barracks. The city of Tongeren is asking locals not to use groundwater or eat vegetables from the vegetable garden as a precaution.

In June 2021, the Flemish government decided to map all sites where the risk of PFAS contamination increases. In the context of this inventory, a soil exploratory investigation aimed specifically at PFAS was conducted. OVAM is currently carrying out measurements throughout Flanders, at sites where an increased presence of PFAS is suspected.

High levels of PFAS
At the fire station and at the former Nova site, elevated values ​​of PFAS were identified in soil and/or groundwater. Measurement results show that there is a clear indication of contamination with PFAS in soil and/or groundwater. Therefore, more soil research is needed. In this study, pollution will be specifically identified and it will be determined whether the pollution poses a danger to people and the environment.

The Health and Welfare Agency recommends taking a number of measures in a specific area around those sites.

Avoid exposure
Due to the high PFAS values ​​at these sites, there is a risk of repeated exposure to the local population. That’s why the Health and Welfare Agency offers precautionary advice to limit exposure as much as possible.

Exposure to PFAS does not have immediate health effects. Long-term exposure may have consequences. It is therefore recommended to follow the agency’s advice carefully. Scientific research into PFAS and its potential impact on health is still developing. The agency can adjust the metrics based on new scientific insights and measurement results.

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Preventive measures
The City of Tongeren is asking residents of the fire station, a former NOVA site, to observe a number of precautions to reduce potential exposure to PFAS.

Pending the results of the Ambiorix Barracks, residents in that area are asked to follow the advice. People who live near the three zones will receive a letter from the residents on the bus with a detailed explanation and the measures they should take into account.

Megan Vasquez

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