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Welsh Water pesticide collection hailed a success

A free and confidential pesticide disposal scheme run by Welsh Water has been hailed a success after it collected over 1,600kg unwanted, unlicensed or out of date pesticides and herbicides from landowners in six target areas across Wales, and achieved a 100% approval rate from its participants.

The trial scheme, a joint initiative between Welsh Water and environmental regulator Natural Resources Wales, formed part of PestSmart, a Welsh Water campaign which encourages farmers, growers and landowners to consider ‘smarter’ ways of controlling weeds, pests and diseases that do not impact on people, water or wildlife.

Ian Christie, Managing Director of Water Services at Welsh Water, said, “Our routine water monitoring programme has detected increasing traces of pesticides in areas we have never seen them before. While these levels are too low to pose a risk to those drinking the water, they are enough to risk breaching rigorous drinking water standards so we wanted to work with land managers to take action to address this issue together.

“Even the most organised of land managers can find themselves with an out of date or now unlicensed product which can be difficult or expensive to dispose of correctly. To help them, we launched a free ‘no questions asked’ disposal scheme which safely took away unwanted pesticides and herbicides.

“We know that pesticides form an essential and everyday role in the agricultural community. However, if stored, used or disposed of incorrectly, they can have a devastating impact on people, water and wildlife. By providing this free and confidential scheme in targeted areas across Wales, we are working with land managers to reduce the risk of pollution and safeguard raw water quality before it reaches our water treatment works.”

The scheme collected 1,662kg of pesticides and herbicides including grassland herbicides, insecticides, pesticides, wetting agents, fungicides, disinfectants, growth regulators and sheep dip from 59 locations in the Upper Wye, Towy, Teifi, Pendine, Alaw and Cefni catchments.

Bob Vaughan, NRW’s Sustainable Land Use Manager, added, “Protecting our natural resources of water, soil and air is essential for a sustainable environment. And whilst we know that pesticides play an essential and everyday role for farmers and land managers in Wales, they can have a serious impact on our environment unless they are stored, used and disposed of correctly.

“We are pleased to work with Welsh Water to help land managers safely dispose of their unused, unwanted and unlicensed chemicals in a trial scheme that will provide multiple benefits in terms of reducing the potential risk to water quality and the wider environment.”

Author: James Brockett,
Topic: Water Quality
Tags: pesticides , Wales , Water Quality

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