Landowners urged to review insecticide control practices

News article |

Eyre Peninsula farmers are being asked to look at their insecticide control practices after a once-off discovery of increased levels of the insecticide Chlorpyrifos in the Tod River Catchment on Lower Eyre Peninsula.

Routine water samples collected as part of the management of the Tod reservoir by SA Water during May detected Chlorpyrifos at a ‘once off’ reading that exceeded Australian guidelines for potential impacts on aquatic ecosystems.

The Environmental Protection Agency was immediately informed and with SA Water and Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula, follow-up sampling and analysis across the catchment and reservoir was undertaken which showed the presence of Chlorpyifos had returned to levels regarded as ‘normal’.

It is understood that the once-off higher than expected reading may have been the result of a landowner using the insecticide on land immediately prior to significant rains, or cleaning spray tanks too close to the water resource at a time which coincided with the water testing regime.

Chlorpyrifos is the active ingredient in commonly used insecticides and has a registered use for a wide range of situations including bare earth treatment when mixed with Trifluralin prior to sowing, or on its own after sowing beans, lupins, peas or canola.

Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula Senior Community Engagement & Sustainable Landscape’s Officer Seb Drewer said: “This incident serves as a reminder to landowners of the potential risk to the broader environment associated with pesticide runoff and the need for them to take measures to minimise risks”.

“The Tod River Catchment is not used as a water resource for human consumption and these concentrations had they continued could have impacted on a range of aquatic organisms including frogs and fish.

“Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula has been monitoring the Catchment with no evidence of any harm to the ecosystem detected,” Mr Drewer said.

Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula encourages users of Chlorpyrifos to read labels carefully and follow instructions, to avoid application if heavy rain is expected within 48 hours, and not to spray or clean equipment in close proximity to a watercourse.

Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula, the Environment Protection Authority and SA Water will continue to work together to monitor the water quality in the Tod River.

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