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Follow-up study on the chemical status of Lake Goto, Bonaire : Measurements and risk assessment

Vervolgstudie naar de chemische verontreinigingstatus van het Gotomeer, Bonaire


On 8 and 9 September 2010 there was a big petrochemical fire at the BOPEC facility on Bonaire. In a study on the environmental impact it was concluded by RIVM that for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) environmental quality criteria were exceeded in Lake Goto and Salina Tam, two lagunas which are located in the vicinity of BOPEC. These substances originated from the fire fighting foams that were used on the BOPEC site. The study was inconclusive about the nature and size of possible ecological effects that could result from this. It was noted that concentrations might gradually decrease in time, however at an unknown speed. At present the results from a follow-up study in 2012 performed by RIVM show that the concentrations of PFOS in water and sediments of Lake Goto and Salina Tam, although a little lower than in 2010, are still exceeding environmental quality criteria. This means that ecotoxicological riks because of this exposure that has been going on for 2 years now, can not be excluded. Examples are direct effects on waterorganisms such as mortality, or indirect effects for example when higher organisms leave because their food has disappeared. It is impossible to make any firm conclusions on the question whether the higher concentrations in Lake Goto and Salina Tam are the (only) causative factors influencing the observed ecological deterioration as indicated by a disappeared flamingo population from Lake Goto. In order to address this question an ecological study is needed, which will be performed by research institute IMARES. This follow-up study was performed by order of The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (I&M) upon request of the Public Entity of Bonaire.

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