COURT PROCEEDINGS: RED ALERT FOR FARMING COMMUNITY.

Smells allegedly detected by neighbour 120-130 metres from farm.

A court case involving a Limerick farmer could have repercussions for farming practices throughout the country.

Proceedings were taken by Limerick County Council arising out of alleged odour nuisance at a farm in the county.

A neighbour of the farm owner reportedly told the court of smells he detected coming from the farm, 120 – 130 metres from where he lived.

According to the Limerick Leader, a technician with the county council stated that he had carried out a “sniff test” in the vicinity of the farm and had detected “an animal feed smell that passed the thresholds deemed to be a nuisance.” He later visited the farm where he detected a smell he believed was a “chemical reaction ”between feedstuffs.

The judge found the facts proved, but adjourned the case to allow the parties “engage.”

The ICMSA has warned that the case could set a precedent that would make farming practices “incredibly difficult.”

Indo Farming reports a spokesperson for the association as stating “if residents in rural areas can object to odours on a neighbouring farm and have these objections upheld farming operations could potentially become impossible for the majority of progressive farmers in the country.”

Meanwhile, an industry activist has expressed concern about plans that, he says, could hit slurry spreading in areas of the west where it is deemed soil depth or condition is insufficient to attenuate contaminants in the waste. Those likely to be affected would include farms where slurry is spread a couple of times a year.

The Environmental Protection Agency has recently warned that upwards of a third of private wells contain E.coli.

Among the E.coli are a group called Verocytotoxigenic E.coli (VTEC), which, the Food Safety Authority states, can cause serious injury and death. E.coli 0157:H7 can remain viable in soils, water and manure for considerable periods and has been shown to survive for several months in manure and contaminated grassland.

E.Coli O157:H7 contamination of a public water supply was implicated in approximately 17 deaths and almost 2,000 cases of infection in the Canadian town of Walkerton in May 2000.

The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that as many as 50,000 of the 170,000 private wells in Ireland are contaminated.