9 July 1999

Authorisation is legal necessity for dip disposal

By Emma Penny

FOR many sheep producers, filling in their dip disposal authorisation forms earlier this year was another headache.

But those who failed to return their dip disposal application forms to the Environment Agency or Scottish Environmental Protection Agency now have three courses of action – apply now and wait to be assessed; use alternative products such as injectables; or employ a contractor who will dispose of spent dip.

Disposing of dip on land without authorisation is a criminal offence, warns SAC waste specialist Dave Merilees.

"Many producers phoned for advice about filling in applications before the Apr 1 deadline. They were concerned that they had no choice about whether they did it or not if they wanted to dip sheep and dispose of it on their land."

The form states that producers may be subject to an official inspection, but this is only likely to happen on a small number of holdings, he says.

"Producers may not necessarily have as assessment, as SEPA or the EA are likely to assess risks from the forms submitted.

"The legislation is designed to protect groundwater, so highest risk areas are likely to be those where sandstone is the underlying rock or soils are thin and shallow, with sand and gravel underneath."

However, only a small area of land is required for disposal (see table), so Mr Merilees believes few producers will have problems.

"But there are key points to consider when identifying an appropriate site for disposal."

The ideal area is well vegetated grassland, rough grazing or stubble, situated as far away from water as possible. It must have a slope of less than 5% to cut risk of run-off, and should be even.

"Loamy or peaty soils are best, with a pH of 5 to 7.5. Soil should be more than 0.6m deep before it hits rock or gravel. Field drains must also be deeper than 0.6m in heavy and medium soils," he advises.

If dip is disposed of on land meeting such criteria, contamination concerns should be avoided, he says. &#42

DIPDISPOSALOPTIONS

&#8226 Disposing to an area of land – authorisation and prior investigation required.

&#8226 Adding to a soakaway – not acceptable and will not be authorised.

&#8226 Diluting the waste – authorisation and prior investigation required.

&#8226 Using a waste treatment process – authorisation and prior investigation required for the effluent.

&#8226 Using a registered waste disposal contractor – no authorisation required.

&#8226 Employing a mobile dipping contractor – make clear who is responsible for disposing of the waste. Authorisation required if it is disposed of on your land.

&#8226 Adding to slurry storage tank – authorisation and prior investigation required.

&#8226 Adding directly to a watercourse – illegal and not acceptable.

Dip disposal dilution and area required

Dip bath Disposal Minimum disposal

capacity volume area (ha)

(litres) (3:1) Full bath 75% bath

capacity

500 2000 0.1 0.075

750 3000 0.15 0.12

1000 4000 0.2 0.15

1250 5000 0.25 0.19

1500 6000 0.3 0.23

1750 7000 0.35 0.26

2000 8000 0.4 0.3

2250 9000 0.45 0.33

2500 10000 0.5 0.375

2750 11000 0.55 0.42

3000 12000 0.6 0.45