Due to the nature of farming practices, agricultural land is often well-drained, meaning that water from precipitation and irrigation can easily leak out of the soil structure and be transported into watercourses. This means that, if the water contains pesticides, it can contaminate groundwater and freshwater supplies over a large area.
In agriculture, the term ‘pesticides’ includes herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, nematocides, and rodenticides.
Water pollution penalties
The penalty for polluting inland freshwater, coastal waters and relevant territorial waters is a fine of any amount and/or up to 12 months imprisonment in a Magistrates Court. In a Crown Court, the fine is unlimited and the prison sentence can be as high as five years. Therefore, the possibility of water pollution from the use of pesticides should not be taken lightly!
There is also the possibility of a water pollution offence affecting the future of the farmer’s business. For example, organisations such as Associated Food Standards could use this as grounds for disassociation, which could cause the farmer to lose out on business.
How much pesticide is permissible in watercourses and sources?
Of course there are trace amounts of pesticides that make it into watercourses and drinking water supplies. This may come from farms, private gardens, roadways and more. However, there is a limit to what is deemed as non-threatening levels of pesticide pollution to public health.
Currently, the legal limit of a particular pesticide in drink water in the UK is 0.1µg/l, which means one part for every 10 billion parts of water. Due to the fact that pesticides are often used in combinations, the law stipulates that drinking water must not have more than 0.5µg/l of pesticides in total (five parts for every 10 billion parts of water).
Avoid water pollution by using dedicated chemical storage
With the risks taken into account, you should make sure that your chemical storage facilities are in the best position to prevent a pesticide leakage. Proper storage may be a small investment now, but down the line it could save you thousands, as well as help secure the future of your business.
But what do you have to look for in an adequate chemical storage unit? You should find a unit which can, first and foremost, contain any spillages which may occur; secondly, make spillages easier to clean up; and thirdly, ensure that chemicals are correctly stored in order to prevent spillages in the first place.
Our containers are fitted with bunding to prevent chemicals from leaking out of the container if there is a spillage. You have the option to combine the bunding with a raised steel mesh floor or a steel checkerplate floor; the mesh floor allows the chemicals to drain into a subfloor where they can be expelled through a drainage sump.
These dedicated chemical stores are made with suitable access and exits in line with health and safety protocols, as well as the fire resistant and high tensile steel. From a security standpoint – and also to limit the chance of spillage if a theft occurs – these chemical stores are fitted with lock boxes (and can be purchased with a suitable padlock) which deters bolt croppers.
Where to get a chemical storage container
It is very easy to obtain a chemical storage container for use on your farm or agricultural land. Simply call Billie Box on 01473 557409 for a quote, or fill your details in using this form and one of our friendly team will get back to you with your quote.