Farmers with above ground slurry tanks face inspections
Over 250 Co. Limerick farmers with above ground slurry tanks have been written to by the council to say they will be carrying out inspections of the tanks.
According to the latest EPA report, Foynes and Glin were two of 44 areas around Ireland where waste water was collected and released back into the environment without treatment in 2016. And it is likely to continue to do so until 2021.
Limerick IFA chairman Shay Galvin and Cllrs Adam Teskey say there is one rule for farmers and no rules when raw sewage is being pumped straight into rivers.
Mr Galvin said a council employee has told him: “They want farmers to construct containment bunds [moats] around these slurry towers”.
“The time to do risk assessment was when farmers were applying for planning, not now. All the letters I have been shown by farmers were for tanks which are less than ten years old and even in one case the tank was never built,” said Mr Galvin, who estimated the cost of installing a moat at over €6,000.
“They pose their own risks. They are going to fill up with water so you have to keep the water pumped out and fence them off. There is a risk to children. Some of these towers are in areas where it would be impossible to build a bund around them as they are right up against other buildings,” said Mr Galvin, who adds that “there have been a lot more pollution incidents involving sewage treatment plants in the country than slurry towers despite their being over 10 times more slurry towers than sewage treatment plants”.
He asks: “Why are farmers being unfairly targeted by Limerick City and County Council environmental department?”
“IFA fully support clean water and keeping the environment safe from pollution but we feel that these inspections are unnecessary and will not add anything to ensuring clean water,” said Mr Galvin.