16 March 2001

Making proper use of disinfectants

THE Environment Agency urges producers to take care when using and disposing of disinfectants during the foot-and-mouth crisis.

It says that while the priority is to eradicate foot-and-mouth as quickly as possible, producers must remain aware of the risks of pollution posed by disinfectants.

"All disinfectants pose a potential pollution risk, particularly to rivers and streams. The phenolic content can be particularly persistent," says the EAs Geoff Bateman.

Although special arrangements are in place for farms where foot-and-mouth had been confirmed, holdings outside these areas should only use disinfectants approved by MAFF.

"The manufacturers instructions should be followed and only the quantity of disinfectant required should be made up at any one time," adds Mr Bateman. In the event of a serious spillage contact the EAs emergency hotline (0800 087060).

The EA also advises choosing disinfection sites with care and well away from ditches and drains. Footbaths should also be sited away from drains and plastic sheeting laid underneath disinfectant pads.

Wherever possible disinfectant should be disposed of by adding it to slurry or manure stores. Used disinfectant should not be disposed of via surface water drains or septic tanks. Straw that has been soaked in disinfectant should be composted and spread on to land later, he adds. &#42