Contamination of the drinking water source Brusdalsvatnet

In the annual meeting held by the Norwegian Environmental Protection Association - Møre og Romsdal (NMF-MR) on 22 February 2017, it was determined that the county association should, among other things, work on the protection of drinking water sources. On 01.03.2017, Ålesund municipality applied for permission from the County Governor in Møre og Romsdal to release large quantities of alkalized marble, chlorine and CO2 into the drinking water source Brusdalsvannet.

On 15 March 2017, NMF-MR submitted comments to the County Governor regarding Ålesund municipality's application. In the comments, the NMF-MR has noted that Ålesund municipality has had illegal polluting discharges into the Årsetelva and the drinking water source in recent years. In the summer of 2009, Ålesund municipality was notified by the county governor in Møre og Romsdal for polluting the Årsetelva and the drinking water source with such large amounts of alkaline lime that the fish in the watercourse died. According to the report "Status for fish, benthic animals and river mussels in the Brusdalsvassdraget" "Årsetelva is considered the most important spawning river for the trout population in Brusdalsvatnet."

NMF-MR believes it will be particularly bad if the County Governor in Møre og Romsdal allows Ålesund municipality to pollute the most important spawning river for the Brusdalsvannet with discharges of alkalized marble, chlorine and CO2. In NMF's opinion, such discharges will weaken the survival ability of trout fry in Årsetelva, thereby contributing to reduced growth of the trout population in Brusdalsvannet. It is a well-known fact that there are red-listed river pearl mussels in the Brusdalsvassdraget, and that river mussels are spread by trout spawn. "River pearl mussel has a parasitic stage on salmon, where the larva (glochidia) sits on the gills from early autumn until early summer the following year. There are therefore two absolute prerequisites for river mussels to recruit, here defined as the completion of metamorphosis in the glochid larva and that this frees itself from the gills of the host fish. (...) In the Brusdalsvassdraget, both salmon and trout can in theory be host fish."

according to the Action plan for river mussels, all Norwegian river pearl mussel populations must be maintained or improved. In NMF-MR's opinion, the Årsetelva, provided that this river becomes free from Ålesund waterworks' environmental pollution, will be a potential spreading area for the pearl mussel population in the Brusdals watershed. As a solution to the pollution problem, NMF-MR envisages that draft pipes can be laid in some old disused water pipes in the area, and that waste water and sewage both from the waterworks, homes and cabins along the south-western bank of Brusdalsvannet can be connected to this future sewer line .

The notes from NMF-MR can be ordered from the County Governor in Møre og Romsdal, here:

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