How to dispose pesticides safely to protect water supply as weather gets warmer

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NI Water would like to remind farmers this summer to carefully store, handle and dispose of their pesticides safely to keep both sprayer operatives safe and protect water quality.

As the weather gets warmer, many farmers will be busy with weed control so it is important to be aware of how to handle pesticide substances.

Take all personal protection equipment precautions before using any pesticide and read the container label carefully. If you do not follow the label instructions you could potentially harm yourself, damage your crop or unwittingly cause water pollution.

How to store pesticides:

NI Water is reminding farmers to carefully store, handle and dispose of their pesticides safely this summer. (Pic supplied)NI Water is reminding farmers to carefully store, handle and dispose of their pesticides safely this summer. (Pic supplied)
NI Water is reminding farmers to carefully store, handle and dispose of their pesticides safely this summer. (Pic supplied)

It is important to have a pesticide store which can hold all farm pesticides that you may use in the next year. This store must be securely locked and in an area with a low fire risk. Ensure there is bunding inside your pesticide store to stop any spillages.

How to handle pesticides:

When filling machinery with water, use a hosepipe or a mobile/static water tank. Never fill sprayer tanks at rivers, as the risk of pesticides leaking into the river is high. When mixing or pouring pesticides, do it in a well-ventilated area and prepare only the amount needed for application.

When you spray your last tank of pesticides it is important to then add some water to the tank and spray the washings out on the same crop. Once you carry out a final wash of the tank it will then be ready for the next time you use it. Never pour washings or left over mixes down a drain.

How to dispose of pesticides:

When your container is empty, you should not use it for any other purpose. The container will need to be filled a quarter of the way with water, then secure the lid back on and shake the container.

Add this dilute water back into the sprayer tank. This process should be repeated two more times to ensure there is no pesticide residue left in the container. Then please follow the label instructions on how to dispose of the container. Some may ask you to triple bag the container and put it in your litter bin.

Since 2022 NI Water have carried out multiple Farm Chemical Disposal Schemes within their catchments and have successfully disposed of 3.5 tonnes of unwanted farm chemicals, supporting farmers and preventing potential contamination of vital watercourses.

If you would be interested in participating in a similar scheme in the future, please contact [email protected]

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