Farmers warned as pesticides detected in Waterford drinking water

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

news@waterfordlive.ie

Farmers warned as pesticides detected in Waterford drinking water

Farmers warned as pesticides detected in Waterford drinking water

Farmers have been issued with a warning after exceedances in pesticides were detected in drinking water sources Waterford.

Irish Water, working in partnership with the National Pesticides and Drinking Water Action Group (NPDWAG), is appealing to farmers and other users of pesticides to follow guidelines when applying these substances to their lands.

The efforts to reduce the incidence of these detections are being coordinated by the NPDWAG. This group is chaired by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

"In Waterford, exceedances for the pesticide Glyphosate were noted in the Villierstown supply in December.  While there is no threat to public health, it is imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when spraying their lands," a statement from Waterford Council read.

Glyphosate is used mainly for the control of broad-based leaves and is found in a number of weed killer formulations used by gardeners and growers.

Pat Duggan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said: “Irish Water is continuing its extensive investment programme to improve water and wastewater services in Ireland. Providing safe, clean drinking water for all is our first priority.”

Adding to this, Dr Aidan Moody, Chair of NPDWAG commented: “The continued engagement of all stakeholders, working in partnership, is needed to tackle this issue. Users of pesticides should make sure that they are aware of the best practice measures that should be followed to protect water quality.”

A single drop of pesticide can breach the drinking water limit in a small stream for up to 30 kilometres. This clearly highlights the potential risk facing many of Ireland’s drinking water sources.

Drinking water monitoring results for Ireland show that a number of pesticides commonly used such as Bentazone,  MCPP, Clopyralid and Fluroxypyr, are being detected more frequently.

Irish Water, working in partnership with the National Pesticides and Drinking Water Action Group, would like to remind farmers and professional users of pesticides to follow best practice in the application of pesticides on land, particularly near lakes and rivers used as drinking water sources.

The basic steps in reducing pesticide risks are:

- Choose the right pesticide product
- Read and follow the product label
- Determine the right amount to purchase and use
- Don’t spray if rain or strong wind is forecast in the next 48 hours
- Make sure you are aware of the location of all nearby watercourses
- Comply with any buffer zone specified on the product label to protect the aquatic environment. Mark out the specified buffer zone from the edge of the river or lake or other watercourse
- Never fill a sprayer directly from a watercourse or carry out mixing, loading or other handling operations beside a water course
- Avoid spills, stay well back from open drains and rinse empty containers 3 times into the sprayer.
- Store and dispose of pesticides and their containers properly.

Information leaflets on pesticide use are also available to download from the Teagasc website.