NTIG to establish a working group to address the gaps in processes governing the protection of waters from the movement of animal manures (Source: NTIG Minutes, March 2021)
Extract from minutes:
Recent intensive pig and poultry license applications have seen many farms doubling in size.
The HSE (who gave presentation on issue at NTIG meeting) is concerned about possible impacts of slurry and other animal manures on drinking water quality.
Tracking and following up on the movement of manures between farms is very challenging.
The EPA licensing process for intensive pig and poultry farms does not regulate the management of slurry that is moved offsite
Potential health implications
• Microbial contamination of ground and surface water
• Nutrient enrichment
• There are 380k private well supplies in Ireland; 180k of these are not registered or tested.
• As part of environmental health regulations, 1418 small private supplies are tested. These are generally associated with small food businesses so are subject to inspections by LAs.
Annually, approximately 6% of these inspections show that the private supply is contaminated.
• WHO documents are available on the implications of nitrate pollution of groundwater, which can be carcinogenic.
Suggested control measures
• Risk rating of any potential measures would be key to ensuring effective outcomes.
LAWPRO: Role and experience of LAs, the EPA and others in the control system for manure, animal by products and digestates
• LAWPRO provided an overview of the LA experience, which has shown that there are potential gaps in control measures.
• Tracking and transparency are key issues.
• DAFM has moved to an online tracking system may assist with this.
• Geographic concentration of intensive agriculture can lead to increased potential risk in those areas.
• ACTION: NTIG to establish a working group to look at this issue.
Farms now submit via DAFM (Record 3 form) and that data is submitted to IPPC licencing
System went online at the end of 2021