18 September 1998

Give priority to safe sheep dip disposal

ENSURING dipping baths are leak free, and spreading used sheep dip thinly, well away from water courses is a must this autumn, with soils wetter than normal, advises Bob Merriman of the Enviroment Agency.

"Too many baths are near streams, risking polution at the slightest mishap, are leaking, or have drain holes. Drain holes need permanently sealing with a plate or concrete, risks of leaks are too high using temporary bungs," he says.

He also warns that synthetic pyrethroid dips are 100 times more toxic than OPs and trace amounts can cause pollution. Even washing protective clothing in a stream would cause pollution.

To dispose of dip spread it thinly on level land as far away from water courses as possible, avoiding headlands. Maximum recommended rate for spreading dips is 5m cu/ha (450gal/acre), but when using a vacuum tanker that cannot spread less than 20m cu/ha (1780gal/acre), dip will need diluting before spreading. &#42