Polluted water tables represent 80% of localised pollution sites in France
Heavy metal pollution, cyanide, solvents, hydrocarbons… products that have been found in soil along the French Riviera. Among the 31 pollution sites on the Côte d’Azur that are currently under government surveillance, four are considered serious, while one company continues to operate.
The Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Ministry has set up a vast online database, registering 5,405 pollution sites in France. Factories, construction sites, and hangars are among the 330 sites that have been deemed safe and no longer under surveillance. However, 669 are currently being evaluated due to serious pollution concerns.
The ministry defines a polluted site as one likely to cause nuisance or long term risk to people or the environment due to previous waste deposits or infiltration of polluting substances.
Severe pollution has been confirmed at four sites in Nice, Cannes and La Trinité in the Alpes Maritimes, and Barjols in the Var. Despite having ceased their activies and having been sealed off to the public since 1996, waste and water table pollution is still present at three of the sites. The site in Cannes however is still in use. Established in 1919, STP-Rail specialises in railway maintenance and heavy metal pollution has been found in soil surrounding the site. It was cleared to continue operating in 2011 and according to the BASOL database, the site represents no immediate risk.
There are a total of 52 sites between the Alpes Maritimes and the Var departments and 21 have been classified as safe and no longer need surveillance. Of the 31 sites left, 18 operate under restrictions but are not considered dangerous, and nine are being rehabilitated.