Agribusiness Contaminated the Pardo River with Pesticides, in the Interior of São Paulo State

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The contamination of the Pardo River, in the interior of SP, agricultural pesticides can cripple their drinking water due to the costs of pardo riverconstructing a water treatment plant that would eliminate these substances.

The statement is from professor of chemistry Cristina Pereira Rosa Paschoalato of Unaerp (University of Ribeirao Preto), which concluded a study on the river.

Partial results of this study indicate that the water of the Pardo is contaminated by pesticides such as diuron and hexazinone. Cristina says that several samples were taken and the herbicides were identified in several of them.

For her, the Pardo River is a source of drinking water for when the ability to extract water from artesian wells for Ribeirão Preto (313 km from São Paulo) is compromised by high demand and the lowering of the Guarani aquifer.

The fact that the river cuts through sugar cane production regions, she says, influences the degree of contamination.

"Diuron and hexazinone are applied to about 90% of the sugar cane plants," said the teacher.

She says that the two herbicides are not on the list of banned by Ordinance 518 of the Ministry of Health, that provides rules to maintain quality of river water.

The researcher hopes, however, that the reform of Ordinance 518 of CONAMA, which sets standards for drinking water, these two compounds may join the list of substances controlled and monitored.

Cristina says that their research simulated the products in a sewage treatment plant and substances that "passed directly", indicating that this would occur also in a conventional treatment plant.

The research is performed by FINEP (Financing Agency for Studies and Projects) and the Daerp (Department of Water and Wastewater, Ribeirão Preto), in partnership with Unaerp.

 The Daerp said through its press office that the research is ongoing and that any analysis would be premature at this time.

"Let's wait until the end of the research to see what preventive measures will be taken, " says the advisory.