LEKKERKERK - The toxic substance benzene is found under a portion of the new district Lekkerkerk-West. It has been detected among six homes, but chances are that the hazardous substance is also among other homes in the neighborhood. That Mayor Ouwerkerk said tonight at a briefing for residents.

The consequences for residents, on the contaminated soil for five years living in most cases, is niet duidelijk. All residents must undergo a rigorous medical examination.


The contamination came to light through a broken water pipe in September last year. The lead was externally affected.

The investigation has been examined under the floors and crawlspaces six houses in Lekkerkerk West. There are traces of the steel drums, where the poison is resident.

From test samples it appeared that the ground water was contaminated. This was followed by a more extensive study in twenty homes.

Two days ago, a project with the results. Mayor Ouwerkerk was so shocked by the results, he organized a residents' meeting as soon as possible.


The pollution is caused by the preparatory work for the construction of Lekkerkerk West. Locks decade ago were filled by the Rotterdam waste transporter Wijnstekers. The vessels with benzene, toluene and xylene had been mixed with the rest of the waste. "In particular, benzene can be dangerous to the health", Ouwerkerk said at the meeting.

The barrels are rusted over the years and the content has come into the land.

A few hundred people were at the Reformed Church of Lekkerkerk come for the meeting. After most people had obtained the worst terror there were many critical questions from the audience.

Many people who lived for some time in Lekkerkerk knew that waste was dumped, with site preparation of the soil. The council was aware, but did nothing.

About the method of Wijnstekers al longer rumors. The Rotterdam waste company would have done the job for free. Controls were not carried out.

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Ouwerkerk immediately announced some measures to be implemented immediately. Because it is not right that people in the ground digging comes strongly advised to do any digging, in the home garden. Sandpits for children as soon as possible covered.

In crawl spaces are drilled ventilation holes. The drinking water is simply to use according Ouwerkerk.

The festivities surrounding the 700th anniversary of Lekkerkerk, starting next week, still continue.

Hoe ging het verder?

Lekkerkerk was not the greatest, but the best known poison scandal in Netherlands. Only 270 homes to be evacuated about a month after this meeting and the ground is excavated underneath and drained.

The special is, that the parties have admitted later that there was no benzene in the ground, noted the program history Other Times. Toluene and Xylene were well into the ground. Which came from the paint industry. These substances were responsible for the damage to the water pipes.

The groundwater was indeed contaminated. A few days later, the water is then sealed and come taps.

The homeowners bought Lekkerkerk West by the municipality, partly after exercise by Deputy Prime Minister Wiegel.

The residents are temporarily housed in a holiday, getting nicknamed Camp Benzenidorm.

Later it turns out that no occupant traces of benzene, toluene or xylene in their body,.

Pas in 2008 there legally ended the poison scandal. The companies involved will each pay one million euros, but the settlement is not an admission of guilt. Of the total amount was a quarter to the municipality Nederlek (where Lekkerkerk today then fell under).

Similar scandals

In the years after 'Lekkerkerk' are more to similar cases. For many people, the names will as Gouderak, the tail (Dordrecht), Volgermeerpolder (Amsterdam) one Coupépolder (Alphen aan den Rijn) familiar to your ears.

read more: "100,000 barrels of poison under the Coupépolder"

There are many similarities between all these stories, but none of these cases received much attention as Lekkerkerk. This is mainly because Lekkerkerk the first big case that came to the surface. In addition, Mayor Ouwerkerk had worked for years for the VARA and he used these contacts to get his problems through the media on the political agenda.


local government – Legendary gifaffaire

“Possible medical monitoring all residents Toxic benzene homes Lekkerkerk”. “The free people : democratic-socialist newspaper“. Rotterdam, 04-04-1980.

“mayor to! Residents: , ,Le kkerkerkse soil heavily contaminated””. “The Telegraph“. Amsterdam, 04-04-1980.

Other times – Lekkerkerk

Wikipedia – Poison scandal Lekkerkerk

Text: Dave Datema coop Maarten Timmer

published: 01 oktober 2017

story number: 07