Direction départementale des Affaires sanitaires et sociales, Service Santé‐environnement, 18‐22 bis, Rue Paul Ramadier, 44200 Nantes.
- Key words: disasters; petroleum; risk management; polycyclic hydrocarbons, aromatic; water pollutants, chemical; environmental monitoring.
- Page(s) : 35-44
- Published in: 2003
The Erika oil spill: two years of monitoring by local environmental authorities, the Loire‐Atlantique DDASS ‐‐ december 1999 to december 2001 Context. The tanker Erika broke up and sank off the coast of the French administrative department of Loire‐Atlantique on December 12th, 1999. The departmental environmental authorities (DDASS) implemented a pollution plan for monitoring possible health effects in shellfish areas, thalassotherapy spas, beaches and salt marshes. DDASS monitoring. Before the fuel arrived on the coasts, the DDASS began sampling campaigns for baseline measurements, planning, and documentary research. During the following two years, it measured total hydrocarbons and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in 33 natural shellfish grounds, 6 sea water spas, 72 beaches, and 2 salt marshes. Results were compared with guidelines published by ministerial circulars after risk assessment studies by agencies including AFSSA, INERIS and InVS. Results. In the two years following the shipwreck, the DDASS carried out 2290 analyses at a cost of 563 500 , with Full‐Time Equivalent (FTE) staff involvement of 5 and a half years. The collection of shellfish was banned for periods ranging from 5 to 16 months in the 33 natural shellfish grounds. The thalassotherapy spas were unaffected. The implementation of national guidelines for beaches allowed 66 of 71 beaches to be opened to the public for the summer of 2000, and 71 in 2001. Salt that met the food safety authority recommendations and technical specifications was produced in 2000. An assessment of public information revealed the usefulness of posters on the beaches and of ensuring public access to information.