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Published Discussion Documents and Official Risk Assessments for the 2001 UK Foot-and-Mouth Disease Outbreak
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The informationis replicated directly and unabridged with the kind permission of the Environment Agency. Further information may be found on http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/

Wildpro Reference Code: W39.31May01.sib5

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This document was produced by the Environment Agency as a specific response to the FMD outbreak in the UK in 2001 and was made available on their website.

Foot and mouth disease
May 2001

FMD: Advice on disposal of manure, slurry and dirty water

The Environment Agency is advising farmers and others in England and Wales to take extra care with manure, slurry and dirty water disposal during the current outbreak of foot and mouth disease. These can transmit the infection, so it is vital that farmers running out of storage are cautious about disposing of these materials and know what options and support are available to them.

The Agency has the following advice for farmers:

  • Do not to spread slurry, farmyard material or dirty water if there is no need, and to ensure the necessary freeboard is retained in the store to allow for rainfall.
  • Telephone the Agency for advice on minimum requirements for short-term storage in their area if they require emergency storage. Call 0845 933 3111 during office hours (9am-5pm), or outside office hours, use the Agency's Emergency Hotline: 0800 80 70 60.
  • To follow MAFF rules for Form D or infected areas, as appropriate, if they need to spread material. If there are practical difficulties in following these rules, farmers are advised to contact the MAFF helpline (0845 050 4141) for guidance and, where necessary, a licence to spread.


  • No materials may leave premises, and slurry should not be sprayed on farms with Form A restrictions in place.
  • Farms under Form D restrictions may not discharge slurry by spray or jet except under a licence. Farmers are advised to contact their MAFF Divisional Veterinary Manager (DVM). Manure and litter must remain within the premises except under the authority of a licence. If it is essential to move such material from premises then contact the DVM.
  • Within an infected area, Article 21 of the Foot and Mouth Control Order 1983 specifies the conditions for the handling of such material. It cannot be moved from the infected area. If slurry is to be discharged by spray or jet then a downward-angled jet or spray must be used, not less than 45o from the horizontal and from a height no greater than 1 metre above ground level.
  • Take account of the following general points:
    • avoid atomising materials into fine aerosols that can be carried on the wind;
    • operate equipment at low pressure and with a low spread pattern;
    • if possible, modify splash plates or use heavy 'shrouding' to avoid atomisation;
    • do not fully empty vacuum tankers to avoid the burst of aerosol which is often emitted;
    • adjust low-rate irrigation equipment to give large droplets (where feasible); and
    • where this is not feasible, as a last resort consider removing the sprinkler head and discharging direct from the pipe. This will require very careful siting well away from watercourses, frequent moves to avoid water pollution and close supervision.
    • understand that susceptible animals can excrete the virus before clinical signs are apparent, so manure, slurry and litter could contain infection. The Agency appreciates that for welfare and other disease reasons, manure, slurry and litter might have to be moved within or from your farm, but this could pass on the infection.

As a further precaution to reduce the possible spread of infection, the Environment Agency advises farmers to ensure that no spillage can occur on public highways or on any premises other than where it was produced. If spreading on other premises, farmers should ensure that animals cannot come into contact with the material - and that neighbouring stock cannot gain access to material spread on their premises. If material is moved to other premises, then the outside surface and wheels of the vehicle must be disinfected immediately before and after each transfer.

For further information, the Agency advises farmers to:

  • obtain permission from the landowner before crossing or spreading material on their land;
  • seek further advice from MAFF on the spreading of material and the subsequent timing of grazing by susceptible species;
  • ensure fences and gates are secure and that no unauthorised access to land or muck heaps by animals can occur;
  • keep a record of where and when material is spread and the animals from which it was produced; and
  • bear in mind if there has been a Form D notice issued, any contractor carrying out these operations will not be allowed to remove any vehicles or machinery from the infected place without first having thoroughly cleansed and disinfected them.

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