The National Pesticides and Drinking Water Action Group (NPDWAG) which is chaired by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, and whose members include Irish Water, Teagasc, the IFA, ICMSA, APHA, local authorities and many other organisations, have joined forces with Farm TV to promote best practice when using pesticides.
A targeted marketing campaign is running across 11 marts for the month of September 2019 covering priority areas where pesticide exceedances are of concern for the NPDWAG. A 30-second video will play on mart days reminding farmers to use best practice when applying pesticides to their lands. The selected marts are in Kilmallock, Kilkenny, Athenry, Ballyjamesduff, Fermoy, Castlerea, Bandon, Castleisland, Ballybay, Roscommon and Ballinasloe.
Great care must always be taken to protect drinking water supplies wherever pesticide use is considered necessary, particularly if using products for grassland weed control containing substances such as MCPA, fluroxypyr and 2,4-D. These substances and others have been detected in drinking water supplies across Ireland. While there is no threat to public health, the detected levels sometimes exceed the legally permitted limit value for pesticides in drinking water, which is set at an extremely low value (equivalent to one drop in an Olympic-sized swimming pool).
Irish Water, working in partnership with a range of organisations involved in the National Pesticides and Drinking Water Action Group (NPDWAG) is appealing to all users of pesticides including the farming community, sporting organisations and domestic users, to ensure that best practice measures to protect drinking waters are always followed.
There are currently seven priority catchment areas of particular concern where exceedances of pesticides are persistent. These areas cover the Lough Forbes catchment in Co Longford, the River Deel and River Feale catchments in Co Limerick, the Clonroche Water Supply in Co Wexford, the River Nore in Co Kilkenny, Lough Acanon in Co Cavan, and the River Erne in Co Cavan. All of these areas are being prioritised for action by members of the NPDWAG.
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, 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
Information leaflets on pesticide use are also available to download from the Teagasc website here.