Outlines the Local Authority role in farm surveys under the Local Government (Water Pollution) Acts, 1977 and 1990
Kilkenny County Council routinely undertakes targeted farm inspections to protect watercourses from potential pollution. Farms are selected on the basis of catchment assessment, identification of significant pressures within a catchment such as impact on public and private water supplies and identification of watercourses at risk of deterioration of water quality. In addition, farm surveys may be carried out in response to a complaint alleging that agricultural pollution of waters is occurring. The total number of farm inspections completed for 2021 was 57, with 23 outstanding, to be completed in January 2022.
Typical agricultural issues encountered include:
- Inadequate slurry storage capacity including farm yard manure storage.
- Structural integrity of farmyard infrastructure (including open tanks and silage bases and associated conduits)
- Poor separation of soiled/ clean water
Where such issues are identified the farmer is asked to submit a Farmyard Management Plan (prepared by a suitably qualified Agriculturalist) which identifies issues to be addressed and sets out a time-frame for works to be carried out and completed and compliance with GAP requirements to be achieved. Issues are in general resolved utilising a co-operative approach with the farmer. However, where blatant breaches of the Regulations are encountered or continue without co-operation, issues are cross-reported to the DAFM (e.g. Direct discharge to Watercouses, Inappropriate slurry spreading). Cross-reporting of complaints received from members of the public, where investigation validates the complaint, may also transpire.
From a legislative point of view, farm surveys are carried out to ensure compliance with:
- The EU Water Framework Directive
- European Communities (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations, 2009
- Local Government (Water Pollution) Acts 1977 to 2007