Zero tolerance; Tough stance against farmers who let toxic sheep dip get into streams.
COUNTRYSIDE watchdogs have shown they will not tolerate farmers who pollute streams with cypermethrin sheep dip.
The Environment Agency has warned it will maintain its get-tough stance after prosecuting three Mid Wales farmers.
On each occasion, sheep dip accidentally entered tribitaries of the River Teifi and killed large numbers of stream creatures.
Gareth Jones, the Agency's local environment manager, said it was up to farmers and contractors to contain sheep dip run-off.
He said: 'These cases demonstrates how important it is that farmers and contractors take great care.
'If using cypermethrin-based dips, extremely high standards of management must be followed.
'They should inspect the location where they carry out the treatment of sheep, and check its suitability, including the siting of mobile treatment systems, to ensure all of the chemical will be captured by a sealed drainage system.'
John Williams, of Capeli Farm, Creuddyn Bridge, was fined pounds 500, with pounds 500 costs, after sheep dip entered a surface water drain leading to Nant Creuddyn. He had treated his lambs in a farmyard sheep three weeks previously.
John Huw Jones of Tynycwm Farm, Pontrhydfendigaid, received the same punishment when the Nant Creuddyn was polluted.
It is believed his sheep had been allowed to stand in heavy rain after dipping. Chemicals then seeped from fleeces and ran off into a channel created by the rain which led to the stream. Douglas Rowbotham, of Penywernhir Farm, Pontrhydfendigaid, was fined pounds 250, with pounds 250 costs, for causing cypermethrin sheep dip to enter the Cefn Mawrtributary. He told magistrates he regularly washed his dip area to keep the feet of his sheep clean prior to dipping.
But the run-off formed a pathway to a nearby stream which subsequently carried contaminants from the dip.
In each case, the resulting pollution had 'almost wiped out' invertebrates along sections of the three streams, said Gareth Jones.
He added: 'The toxicity of these sheep dips to the aquatic environment means that even a few drops can cause a severe environmental effect over kilometers of streams and rivers.
'We will be monitoring our streams and rivers during the current dipping season, and will not hesitate to take enforcement action where appropriate.' A MID Wales farmer was given a twoyear conditional discharge by Aberystwyth magistrates after polluting Llangrannog beach.
Geraint Griffiths of Morfa Uchaf Farm, Llangrannog, was also ordered to pay pounds 450 costs to Environment Agency Wales. Slurry had escaped from small hole in the earth bank wall of the farm's slurry store