Donegal farmers and other pesticide users are being urged to use best practices to protect drinking water.
Irish Water has revealed that exceedances in pesticides are on the increase across the county, with two exceedances detected during 2018 in the River Eske Public Water Supply.
While the water authority has assured that there is no threat to public health, they are calling on users of pesticides to be mindful when spraying their lands.
These latest exceedances in Co Donegal follows on from previous exceedances noted in 2017 in the River Eske Public Water Supply and also the Killybegs Public Water Supply as well as low level detections in many other supplies.
Eight different supplies in Co Donegal (Bundoran, Fanad East, Fanad West, Frosses /Inver, Letterkenny, Milford, Fullerton Dam and Rosses) have seen the herbicide MCPA and other pesticides such as Cypermethrin, Glyphosate and Fluroxypyr detected over the past two years. This has been mostly at very low levels.
MCPA, which is commonly used to kill rushes on wet land, is the main offender in cases of exceedance. Careless storage, handling or improper application means it can easily end up in drinking water leading to breaches of the drinking water regulations.
The regulations are so stringent that a single drop of pesticide is enough to breach the drinking water limit in a small stream for up to 30 kilometres.
Pat O’Sullivan, 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. In Ireland, the majority (82 per cent) of drinking water supplies come from surface water sources (water from rivers, lakes and streams). Such supplies are vulnerable to contamination from land and animal run-off.”
Irish Water, working in partnership with the National Pesticides and Drinking Water Action Group, would like to remind farmers and professional users of pesticides of the need to follow best practice in the application of pesticides such as MCPA 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 (Note that products containing MCPA are NOT approved for use in weed-wipers.)
- 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 water courses
- 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 water course
- Never fill a sprayer directly from a water course 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.
An information video has also been produced for the campaign:Tags: