A polluted river near Fougères: a mushroom farm in question

Pollution of the Guerge, a tributary of the Couesnon, was reported in May. ©Photo Waters and Rivers of Brittany

This has been going on for several years, according to the environmental protection association Eaux et Rivières de Bretagne. She denounces “chronic pollution” of the Guerge, a tributary of the Couesnon, at the level of the Poligone activity zone in Poilly, where is installed the mushroom farm of the Lou vegetables company.

Downstream of it, there is a buffer basin, managed by Agglomeration of Fougeresn, which receives company rejects.

“However, the pool is polluted, it is brown in color, has proliferations of algae and gives off a nauseating odor which is felt up to ten meters away from the pool”.

Waters and rivers of Brittany

This pollution is not limited to the buffer basin, but continues at the level of the Guerge, via a bus depending on the basin at the watercourse.

Eaux et Rivières de Bretagne especially regrets that nothing has been done to harm the problem. The latter would be due to the fact that the company does not have a sanitation system and that the discharges laden with organic matter go directly into the watercourse without treatment. While the Prefecture has been aware since 2020, “our association cannot understand, on the part of the administration, such laxity”, denounces Eaux et rivières which also affirms:

“This pollution could have been stopped.”

The association plans to file a complaint.

A proliferation of algae has been observed in the buffer basin.
A proliferation of algae has been observed in the buffer basin. ©Waters and rivers of Brittany

A report of administrative failures

On the side of the Prefecture, it is specified that the DDTM 35 (Departmental Directorate of Territories and the Sea), after observations on the spot at the end of 2020, had asked the company to comply with the regulations in force and to file a file water law declaration file.

“In the absence of a response, the DDTM relaunched Lou Légumes in September 2021. Over the following months, the company considered various water treatment or spreading solutions”.

Prefecture

Following a new pollution, the company was summoned by the DDTM at the beginning of June 2022. The Prefecture continues: “The DDTM is preparing a report of administrative shortcomings vis-à-vis: Fougères Agglomeration for non-compliance with the prescriptions of the prefectural decree framing its rainwater retention basin; Lou Vegetables for failure to file the Water Act file for the discharge of process water. »

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The Prefecture specifies, however, that there is no fish mortality observed directly downstream of the discharge from the rainwater retention basin.

The buffer basin receives the effluents loaded with organic matter from the company.
The buffer basin receives the effluents loaded with organic matter from the company. ©Waters and rivers of Brittany

Who is responsible ?

Between the company and Fougères agglomeration, we seem to pass the buck. Lou vegetables first of all wishes to clarify:

“The activity is exclusively dedicated to the cultivation of fresh mushrooms grown without pesticides and not to an industrial processing activity. No pesticides or chemical substances are used by the company. »

Lou Vegetables

The company says it is very committed to the environment. Lou vegetables explains that the building that hosts it as well as its entire water management system were entirely designed and integrated by the Community of Communes (Editor’s note: that of Louvigné-du-Désert at the time) and adds: ” LOU vegetables is not the owner”, since it benefits from a 20-year financial lease with an option to buy after 12 years.

She says she alerted the owner (agglomeration of Fougères) to the dysfunction of the basin and, for her part, called on a consultancy firm to try to improve her water management.

Fougères agglomeration, through the voice of its vice-president for economic affairs Michel Balluais, specifies for his part:

The community must of course ensure the cleaning of the buffer basin, but the company must, upstream, take care of treating its effluents. Work on the buffer basin of the Poligone activity zone cannot be carried out if the company does not first update its facilities which allow it to treat its effluents. A provisional work schedule has been drawn up, in consultation with the DDTM and the company LOU Légumes”.

Michel Ballauais

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