A NEW initiative has been launched to help farmers, growers and land managers dispose of pesticide and herbicides safely to safeguard drinking water quality

The free and confidential disposal scheme applies to a number of targeted rural areas across Wales

Welsh Water has launched the initiative to encourage farmers, growers and landowners to consider ‘smarter’ ways of weed, pest and disease control that do not have an impact on people, water or wildlife.

PestSmart, a joint initiative between Welsh Water and Natural Resources Wales and supported by the Welsh Government and the agriculture and environment sectors, encourages people to consider the way they manage their land to help improve raw water quality before it reaches water treatment works.

Ian Christie, managing director of water services at Welsh Water, said: “Our routine raw water monitoring programme has detected increasing traces of pesticides in areas we have never seen them before. While these levels are too low to pose a risk to those drinking the water, they are enough to breach rigorous drinking water standards so we want to work with land managers to take action to address this issue together.

“Even the most organised of land managers can find themselves with an out of date or now unlicensed product which can be difficult or expensive to dispose of correctly. To help them, we’ve decided to launch a free ‘no questions asked’ disposal scheme which will safely take away any unwanted pesticides and herbicides.

“We know that pesticides form an essential and everyday role in the agricultural community. However, if stored, used or disposed of incorrectly, they can have a devastating impact on people, water and wildlife. By providing this free and confidential scheme in targeted catchment areas across Wales, we want to work with land managers to reduce the risk of pollution and safeguard raw water quality before it reaches our water treatment works.”

Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths said:“This pesticide disposal scheme plays an important role in our Water Strategy for Wales’ vision of a thriving water environment which is sustainably managed.

"It is an example of collaboration in action between the Welsh Government, Natural Resources Wales, Welsh Water and very importantly those directly involved in land management. This free scheme will allow for unwanted, out of date or revoked pesticides and sheep dip to be collected and disposed of, safely and confidentially in six catchments across Wales. The scheme will provide multiple benefits in terms of reducing the potential risk to water quality and the wider environment.”

Bob Vaughan, NRW’s sustainable land use manager said: “Protecting our natural resources of water, soil and air is essential for a sustainable environment. And whilst we know that pesticides play an essential and everyday role for farmers and land managers in Wales they can have a serious impact on our environment unless they are stored, used and disposed of correctly."

The scheme is available within the Teifi, Upper Wye, Towy, Pendine, Cefni and Alaw Reservoir catchments. It is completely confidential and available for a limited time on a first-come, first-served basis.

To register, visit dwrcymru.com/pestsmart or call 01286 832964 by no later than Friday, April 28. Your details will be passed on to an independent waste contractor who will contact you for further details before collecting your unwanted pesticides and herbicides on a pre-arranged date. Terms and conditions apply and are available on the Welsh Water website.