01 July 1998
Sheep dips still threaten rivers

By FWi staff

SHEEP dip was responsible for the serious pollution of tens of kilometres of Scottish rivers in 1997, according to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

With the main dipping season about to start, SEPA is emphasising the importance of farmers using and disposing of dips in an environmentally responsible manner.

Almost half the sheep dip pollution incidents in 1997 were caused by dippers being in a poor state of repair – such as cracking or leaking – or being situated too close to rivers or burns.

Sub-standard dipping facilities pose a huge environmental risk, as even tiny amounts of a dip entering water will cause damage. This is particularly the case with dips containing synthetic pyrethroid (SP) chemicals, which are known to be up to 100 times more toxic to aquatic life than dips containing organophosphate (OP) chemicals.

SP dips are becoming increasingly popular at the expense of OP compounds as they are seen to be less harmful to the farmers using them.