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Drinking water standard for individual pesticides = 0.1 microgram/L

on Monday, 27 November 2017. Posted in Blog, Property, Tillage, Sheep, Dairy, Beef


§Surface waters (rivers & lakes) account for 82% of drinking water sources in IE and are vulnerable to pesticide contamination

§There are increasing reports of pesticide contamination of drinking water supplies

§Herbicides containing the active substance MCPA are the principle cause of concern, but 2,4-D, triclopyr, mecoprop, dicamba and glyphosate are also causing problems

§MCPA = Mortone, Hempacide 30, Agritox, Agroxone 50, Mastercrop MCPA 50, NU46, M50, Pol-MCPA 500 SL

§Problem is linked to farmers using herbicides containing MCPA to control rushes

Drinking water standard for individual pesticides = 0.1 microgram/L

§0.1 microgram/L = 0.1 ppb (1 part in 10 billion)

§Equivalent to;

§one drop in an Olympic-sized swimming pool

§1 second in 317 years!

§1 baked bean in 21 million cans

§Not a health-based standard                              

One foil seal contains enough pesticide to breach 0.1 microgram/L level along 30 km of a typical stream

Nonchemical control methods should be used as far as possible to control rushes:

  • Draining

  • Spreading lime

  • Hard grazing in summer

  • Mowing/topping in late summer after ground nesting birds have finished breeding and whilst rushes are still in flower. The toppings should be removed from the field.

  • If the use of an MCPA based herbicide is absolutely necessary, please note the following:

  • New revised maximum individual dose of 1350g active ingredient MCPA per ha

  • Tractor mounted sprayer only (NOT approved for knapsack or weed licker)

  • A 5m buffer zone must be observed with all products

  • Products should not be applied between the end of September and the beginning of March (prohibited October thru to February)


  • Products should not be applied if rain is forecast within 48 hours

    Implications for Low Input Pasture in GLAS

  • NO herbicide containing the active substance MCPA can be used on LIPP

  • Only herbicides containing the active substance ‘glyphosate’ (e.g. Roundup, Rosate 36, Rambo 36, Barclay Gallup 360 can be used in a weed wiper

  • If spot spraying ragwort, thistles, docks or wild oats, check that the product of choice can be applied by hand held equipment, e.g. Grazon Pro, Bandock EW, Croplink D50.

  • NB. Forefront, Doxstar Pro, etc. cannot be applied by knapsack

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