Over the last week, the Irish Farmers Journal has been contacted by a number of farmers seeking clarifications on the new measures proposed for managing soiled water.

These new measures form part of the Government’s proposed changes to the Nitrates Directive, which is open to public consultation until 20 September.

The changes have been made in advance of Ireland seeking an extension to its nitrates derogation, which expires at the end of this year.

The derogation allows individual farmers to have a higher stocking rate than is otherwise allowed in the Nitrates Directive.

The consultation document proposes that soiled water must be collected and kept separate to slurry on all holdings. This means that the measure will apply to all farms regardless of enterprise and stocking rate.

It does not say when this measure will be introduced.


A number of farmers have been in contact saying that they have ample storage for all the slurry and soiled water produced on their farm, but these are stored together in a large lagoon. They are asking if they will now be required to build a new tank just to keep these nutrients separate.

Other issues include where silage effluent from a silage pit is directed to a slurry tank. Silage effluent is considered to be soiled water so under this new measure a separate tank would be required. Other farmers have major issues with having to store soiled water.

The measure states that a minimum of four weeks of storage for soiled water must be in place by 31 December 2024, yet the measure also states that spreading soiled water will be banned for an eight-week period starting in November 2022.

Farmers who produce high volumes of soiled water over the winter period, such as winter milk herds and growers who harvest and wash root crops or vegetables, will therefore be required to have eight weeks of storage for soiled water starting from next year.

Speaking at an IFA webinar on the new proposals last week, former IFA liquid milk chair Teddy Cashman branded the proposals as unworkable.

“There is no way we can store that amount of water for that period of time. It just won’t work in our situation and we haven’t been causing pollution.

“As a liquid milk producer, we can’t deal with the dirty water storage requirements that are here without huge investment and there would be no return from that so I’ve a major issue with it.”


The Irish Farmers Journal is hosting a webinar on Monday 30 August at 8pm to discuss the new measures and answer readers’ queries. You can watch online at www.ifj.ie/nitrates Those with questions should email to webinar@farmersjournal.ie or send a text or Whats App message to 086-836 6465.