Anglian Water has worked with farmers to remove more than two tonnes of unused pesticides from Lincolnshire farmland.
The pesticide amnesty was run by the water company to provide a service for farmers with out of date pesticides, or left over chemicals which have recently been banned. Around 30 farmers took advantage of the free scheme which saw Anglian Water employ specialists Chemclear Ltd to remove the unwanted products.
The aim of the scheme is to safeguard against any chemicals accidentally finding their way into the county’s watercourses and ground water.
Anglian Water farming advisor Kelly Hewson-Fisher, said: “Pesticides are a vital tool for farmers in Lincolnshire who are battling harmful insects and weeds in our fields.
“But sometimes even the most organised farm manager can find themselves with an out of date bag of chemicals or a product which was perfectly legal when they bought it, but which has since had its license revoked. If any of these accidentally found their way into a water course there would be implications for wildlife and water quality.
“The safest option is to remove them from the farmed environment completely. All the farmers we dealt with were more than happy to take advantage of the service and it’s now something we’re looking to expand in other areas.
“We can remove most pesticides from raw water before we put it into supply, but it’s much more energy efficient and environmentally friendly to work with farmers and ensure they don’t enter the water in the first place.”
Any farmers in the catchment area around the Louth Canal, Great Eau and River Ancholme were eligible to take advantage of the pesticide amnesty. The service was free and was entirely anonymous.
Kelly is part of the team of catchment advisors at Anglian Water and regularly works with farmers across Lincolnshire to help them ensure they are harvesting healthy crops while also protecting local rivers and water courses.
One of the biggest issues for water quality in the region is the slug pesticide metaldehyde. It is not viable to remove the chemical at treatment works and there is strict water quality legislation covering it. Working with farmers to encourage them to move to an alternative product will bring benefits for farm businesses, Anglian Water customers and the environment.