Several opposition parties in the Brussels Parliament want to grill Brussels Environment Minister Alain Maron in the Environment Committee on Wednesday about the increased PFAS values in drinking water in Halle, from a Walloon water basin managed by Vivaqua. The minister confirmed this afternoon that he will respond to the request.
Last week it became known that Flemish Environment Minister Zuhal Demir had informed her Walloon and Brussels colleagues at the beginning of this year about increased PFAS levels in drinking water in Halle. The water was supplied by the Brussels water company Vivaqua from a Walloon water basin.
On Friday, Minister Maron announced that he had immediately contacted Vivaqua. “The minister was quickly assured, on February 2, that everything was in order in Brussels and that the problem in Halle was being dealt with in consultation with De Watergroep and the Flemish administrations involved,” his spokesperson said.
The spokesman pointed out that the Brussels minister “had no authority whatsoever over pollution in Halle, given that Vivaqua is an intermunicipal company and the Flemish Region is competent for the control of the quality of drinking water on its territory”.
But MR faction leader David Leisterh and his group colleague Aurélie Czekalski insisted, despite the minister’s reassuring words, that Maron must make clear in parliament as soon as possible. “There is a rush to avoid panic. We do not accept that our citizens are endangered,” they said.
CD&V MP Bianca Debaets also wants clarity this week: “The fact that Minister Maron is making it easy by stating that he is not competent for this pollution is unacceptable to us. He has been aware of this for some time. height and subsequently did nothing at all to resolve the situation. We will therefore also request the necessary clarification from the Environment Committee, because it is simply not possible that Brussels residents are confronted with such a health risk.”
N-VA faction leader Cieltje Van Achter already questioned Minister Maron in April about PFAS pollution in Brussels drinking water. “Minister Maron then announced that Vivaqua’s current measuring equipment does not function precisely enough to accurately detect PFAS in drinking water. Moreover, he admitted that the European drinking water directive had still not been transposed into Brussels regulations even though the deadline had already passed,” said From behind.
She complains that while the Flemish region applies the precautionary principle and strictly monitors compliance with PFAS standards, Brussels is failing to set up proper detection and purification and to tighten the necessary legislation. “We will question Minister Maron about this again on Wednesday. The Brussels nonchalance in this health file cannot be justified,” the N-VA star concludes.
Group leader of Les Engagés Christophe De Beukelaer says he is worried about X and wants to hear Minister Maron in the Environment Committee. “The health of Brussels residents is a priority! Minister Maron must come and explain the facts,” said De Beukelaer, who wants answers: what information did he have? What is the quality of Brussels drinking water today? What measures have been taken to protect Brussels residents? What is the position of the Vivaqua board of directors?
Previously, Bruno Bouwens (PVDA) also called for an investigation into the matter and urgently asked Minister Maron to provide clarity about what he knew about PFAS pollution in our country.
On Monday afternoon, Maron’s spokesperson confirmed that the minister will provide explanations in the committee on Wednesday. “The minister reiterates that Vivaqua has confirmed that the Brussels drinking water is of high quality. The intermunicipal company has not identified any problem,” he added.
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