Environmental contamination

  • Toxic chemicals may unintentionally kill aquatic organisms and wildlife.
  • Read and follow product label instructions.
  • Do not allow chemicals to enter water systems.

Some chemicals can be particularly toxic to aquatic organisms, wildlife and some important ecological insects such as dung beetles when used without following the manufacturers label. Do not allow chemicals to enter water runoff, for example into storm drains or drainage ditches that could enter dams, water courses or surface water. Avoid treating animals with sprays in windy weather as spray drift could cause safety risks and off-target effects. Be particularly careful when mixing concentrates and make sure all manufacturer label and safety directions are followed. Pour-ons and injectables must also be used according to the manufacturers label and directions.

Figure 1. Check the product label for a hazardous to the environment symbol.

Cleaning dips

At times dips may need to be pumped out. A bunded (watertight) area to contain the dip wash should be used. Preferably an area with growing pasture and where sunlight and soil bacteria will degrade the pesticide should be designated for this purpose. Ensure that the dip wash cannot enter watercourses, dams or ponds. Stock should not graze this area for at least 3 months unless a shorter or longer interval is indicated on the product label.

Old dip sites

Very old dip sites can sometimes have remaining residues of persistent chemicals such as arsenic and organochlorines that were used in the 1960s and earlier. These chemicals have been prohibited for animal use for many years. However, it is important to be aware of this risk, particularly before re-commissioning old dips. Livestock should not be given access to old dip sites, they should be fenced off. Seek advice if you are concerned.