Nutrient Management

Analysis of the risk of water pollution, impact on the environment and consumers

Risk analysis is one of the basic instruments in the fertiliser application risk management process. It involves identifying and monitoring risks qualitatively and quantitatively. At farm level, analysis based on the knowledge and experience of the farmer is possible.

Analyses based on the expertise of advisors are also possible. Professional analysis can be carried out by bodies with the appropriate equipment and training. At farm level, such an analysis can consist of an assessment of the risks to water, the environment and indirectly to consumers. In such a situation, the terrain and landscape conditions (proximity to surface water, slope of the land and water holding capacity of the soils), the agricultural practices used and the risks from point and area pollution should be assessed. The risk analysis should consist of a compilation of the factors that contribute to water pollution. Firstly, it is necessary to identify whether there are water bodies and watercourses in the vicinity of the field that may be at risk, especially waters at risk of pollution that are abstracted or intended to be abstracted for the public drinking water supply. The next step should be to identify and apply the remedial methods described in the legislation (Water Law and publicly available recommendations).

A risk analysis was carried out on a national scale, designating areas vulnerable to pollution by nitrogen compounds from agricultural sources (OSN). Among other things, a Code of Good Agricultural Practice has been developed indicating the correct way to deal with such areas. An exemplary procedure for analysing the risk of fertiliser run-off can be similar to that developed for plant protection products, which is included in the text: ‘Field manual – surface run-off’.