Groundwater protection code: Use and disposal of sheep dip

The Department has published a Groundwater Protection Code: Use and Disposal of Sheep Dip Compounds. The code gives advice on how the Groundwater Regulations 1998 apply to sheep dipping and disposal of used dip, and what should be done before, during and after dipping to protect groundwater. A checklist of key points drawn from the code in poster and pocket format has also been produced for easy reference while dipping.

Free printed copies of the code, in English or Welsh, may be obtained from Defra Publications, quoting publication code PB12010.


The code is the first in a series to be made under Regulation 21 of the Groundwater Regulations aimed at activities and sectors with the potential to pollute groundwater. It is intended as an aid to both regulated and regulator. The code refers to relevant codes and guidance covering other issues such as health and safety.

Sheep dipping is a particular priority for this type of code since misuse of sheep dip has caused serious environmental damage in the past. The active ingredients of dip are generally highly toxic to aquatic life and are classified as List I substances under the Groundwater Regulations. The Regulations require that before disposing, or tipping for the purpose of disposal, a listed dangerous substance to land, authorisation should be obtained from the Environment Agency. If granted, the authorisation will contain such conditions as are necessary to prevent List I substances from entering groundwater, and List II substances from polluting groundwater. The Agency may also serve notices under the Regulations to prohibit, or allow to continue subject to conditions, activities 'in or on land' which might result in groundwater pollution.

A draft of the code was sent for public consultation to a wide range of bodies last year, including farming and environmental organisations with an interest in the Regulations. Following this consultation, amendments have been made to the code in response to the comments received.

Further information

Page last modified: 20 May 2008
Page published 29 August 2001