Bromates in tap water: Launch of a petition


The Collective for drinking water in Saint-Martin launched a petition and invited to sign it to then address it to the President of the Community, Daniel Gibbs.

Since the samples of May 12, the inhabitants of Saint-Martin no longer have potable water at the tap. They only learned about it in June 2019 and the prefectural order prohibiting the consumption of tap water only intervened on June 21, 2019. Consequently, the inhabitants of Saint-Martin plunge back into the post-Irma, a period when everything was acceptable due to an extreme climatic event which put everyone's responsibilities into perspective.

Two years after Irma, the population can no longer accept everything. It is the duty of the local authority to oblige its delegate to provide drinking water.

As this water is no longer drinkable, the population of Saint-Martin simply requests an immediate halt to the water bills of the SAUR delegate and a retroactive reimbursement of the bills since the prefectural decree of June 21 last. Then, a round table around the issue of compensation should be organized with SAUR and the representatives of the Collective in order to define the exact modalities.

In case law, it was established that the delegate reimbursed the equivalent of 2 liters of bottled water per day and per person. The SAUR delegate may again invoice its water distribution when the maximum concentration authorized in water intended for human consumption (10 mg / m3) is respected (see the regulatory decree of January 11, 2007 modified).

Having fun with disdain for this situation of claim for compensation is not a pledge of political wisdom, while each one each takes his responsibilities! Each petitioner must indicate his / her NAME, FIRST NAME, DISTRICT of residence or the neighborhood he / she visits when staying on the island, and the NUMBER OF PERSONS in the household.

In Saint-Martin, as in Saint-Barthélemy, the local authority has set up a public service delegation (DSP) to manage the production and distribution of water in order to resolve its structural deficit. In Saint-Martin, as in Saint-Barthélemy, the delegate is SAUR. In Saint-Martin, SAUR recently replaced the GDE (Générale des Eaux) which wished to terminate its contract. We do not know the financial compensation for the acceptance of this breach by the Territorial Council, because when a contract is broken, there is financial compensation to the other contractor.

Just arrived, SAUR is faced with pollution of the water it distributes. Nothing proves today that the water was already polluted before his arrival and it is moreover unlikely that the water was not withdrawn and studied by the new delegatee before the signature of his contract. Its responsibility is therefore fully engaged, because everything leads us to believe that it is the management of the ozonization of desalinated water which is at the origin of this recent pollution.

Above all, the SAUR delegatee is contractually bound to deliver water that complies with regulatory standards for the sanitary quality of drinking water. The subscription contract creates mutual rights and obligations between the two contracting parties: the water distributor must deliver drinking water, and in return receives the financial proceeds from the subscriptions. The SAUR Saint-Martin delegate therefore does not fulfill its contractual obligations vis-à-vis its subscribers and generally water consumers. Failure to comply with the obligation to deliver drinking water involves contractual liability. However, this contract also prevents SAUR from leaving the ship without resolving the problem of non-potability that it helped create.

The Collective recalls that current bromate levels are up to ten times higher than regulatory standards. As such, articles L. 1321-1 and R. 1321-2 of the Public Health Code are not respected by the delegate. The distribution of drinking water out of the desalination plant, planned from August 1, 2019, is a commendable action but does not correspond to the contract of the delegatee.

Citizens pay to have drinking water distributed, not to fetch it themselves at the production center. Failure to supply drinking water must result in compensatory compensation.

Thus, around twenty district and appellate courts have already condemned delegatees or municipal boards to compensate consumers. The request for appeal to the judgment at first instance on the part of the delegatee or the management system systematically leads to an amplification of the sentence pronounced with additional damages for consumers. In mainland France, compensation mainly concerns non-drinkability due to high levels of nitrates or pesticides, but the Court of Cassation recently (2017) condemned an inter-municipal agency to compensate consumers of water polluted with bromates.

This case law should prompt us to go to court now.

But the Collective does not want to be belligerent, it simply asks the SAUR to stop billing until a new prefectural decree once again authorizes the consumption of the water distributed. In addition, the Collective recalls that the Brottes law of 15 April 2013 introduced the ban for any distributor to cut off the water supply in a main residence, even in the event of non-payment, and this throughout the year . This provision was validated by the Constitutional Council in 2015.

The Collective does not want to encourage the population not to pay their invoices, it asks SAUR to stop invoicing and reimbursement from June 21, 2019, before a compensation assessment meeting is organized. On the other hand, the Collective reminds SAUR of the ban on cutting off the water of its subscribers. If the Collective is not heard with this petition which will be given to the President of the Territorial Council so that he transmits it to the management of the SAUR, then the Collective will initiate legal compensation proceedings, with the creation of a notarial account in escrow, and a complete halt to bill payments.

The Collective for drinking water in Saint-Martin

Find the petition online until August 21 on the Facebook page: Collective for drinking water in Saint-Martin


>> The Collective for drinking water in St Martin has requested an appointment with Madame Sylvie Danielo-Feucher Prefect of St Martin, this Friday August 2. In order to address the demands concerning the current invoicing of Saur, the distribution of bottled water and its cost… These subjects and others will be at the heart of this meeting.


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