A farm chemical collection scheme has been launched in Northern Ireland to protect an important source of drinking water.
Unwanted chemicals and pesticides are being collected from farms in the River Derg catchment area in County Tyrone and disposed of safely, in an initiative led by Northern Ireland Water to help prevent contamination of watercourses.
The free farm-to-farm collection means farmers can dispose of unused, unlicensed or out-of-date herbicides, weedkiller, sheep dip, insecticide sprays, rodenticides, fungicide sprays, veterinary medicines and empty containers.
Peter Quinn, NI Water catchment officer said, “This scheme is taking place to reduce the risk of dangerous chemicals making their way into watercourses which lead to the River Derg, which is an important drinking water source for the local area.
"We are happy to be working with our contractors, McQuillan Environmental, who will pick up the waste chemicals and dispose of them safely on our behalf and within all waste management regulations.”
“This is an excellent scheme which will help farmers tidy up their stores and give peace of mind that unwanted chemicals are out of the way and disposed of safely.”
The scheme is supported by the Ulster Farmers’ Union. David Brown, UFU president said, “This is an excellent scheme which will help farmers tidy up their stores and give peace of mind that unwanted chemicals are out of the way and disposed of safely.”
While essential for growing crops, use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers on agricultural land can impact the quality of local water sources, either through entering groundwater or due to runoff into streams.
Incorrect disposal of chemicals may also harm the local environment, as well as pose a health and safety risk. In the UK, the water sector engages closely with farmers to manage this risk and maintain high water quality and healthy crops.
Registration to NI Water’s chemical disposal scheme closes on 30 November 2022. Collections begin 9 January 2023. Full details can be found on the NI Water website.