Code of Practice for Agricultural Use of Sewage Sludge

Applies to EnglandApplies to WalesApplies to Scotland

Title: Code of Practice for Agricultural Use of Sewage Sludge

Category: England, Wales and Scotland Guidelines (not law)

Date: 1989

Reference: Full text of the Code

Complementary to the Sludge (Use in Agriculture) Regulations 1989

General Description:

The code is designed to ensure that when sludge is used in agriculture:

  1. there is no conflict with good agricultural practice;
  2. the long term viability of agricultural activities is maintained;
  3. public nuisance and water pollution are avoided; and
  4. human, animal or plant health is not put at risk.

It also sets limits for the amounts of potentially toxic elements in soil after sludge application as well as the maximum annual addition rate over ten years.

Notes:

  1. The accepted safe concentrations of molybdenum in agricultural soils is 4 mg/kg. However, there are some areas in the UK where, because of local geology, the natural concentration in the soil exceeds this limit. In such cases there may be no additional problems as a result of applying sludge, but this should not be done except in accordance with expert advice. This advice will take account of existing soil molybdenum levels and current arrangements to provide copper supplements to livestock.
  2. The increased permissible 'Potentially Toxic Elements (PTE)' concentrations in soils of greater pH than 7.0 apply only to soils containing more than 5% calcium carbonate.
  3. The accepted safe concentrations of molybdenum in agricultural soils is 4 mg/Kg. However, there are some areas in the UK where, because of local geology, the natural concentration in the soil exceeds this limit. In such cases there may be no additional problems as a result of applying sludge, but this should not be done except in accordance with expert advice. This advice will take account of existing soil molybdenum levels and current arrangements to provide copper supplements to livestock.

Pertinence to Agriculture: Soil, Agricultural Pollution, Waste

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