Diffuse pollution is a term given to the pollution of water that has occurred through a variety of land-use activities. Individually these activities may have little impact, but collectively they may result in a greater impact. Examples of diffuse pollutants from agriculture include:
- losses of nutrients (nitrate and phosphorus)
- soil loss leading to sedimentation
- bacteria from manures and slurry
Diffuse pollution from agriculture
In Jersey, the link between nutrient losses from agriculture and high nitrate concentrations in surface and groundwater is well established. Agricultural activities are not the only source, but as agricultural land occupies over 50% of the island’s area, they have a significant impact.
Analysis of water quality and land use data also suggests a strong link between high nitrate levels in local water and the total land area used for cattle and for potato growing.
Land use and water quality graph
The Diffuse Pollution Project (DPP)
The Diffuse Pollution Project was set up to raise awareness of diffuse pollution issues amongst the agricultural community and to encourage good agricultural practice resulting in a reduction of pollution.
Maintaining a high quality environment in Jersey is fundamental to the marketing of quality agricultural products. Good agricultural practice brings benefits to farmers, consumers and the environment. Many retailers now have their own environmental assurance schemes and receipt of farming subsidies are also conditional on certain environmental criteria being met.
This project is working in partnership with farmers, by providing information to enhance their knowledge of how best to manage their business and minimise losses of diffuse pollutants.
What we hoping to achieve
- the agricultural community and the Department of the Environment working together more closely to tackle diffuse pollution
- defining and implementing achievable soil protection, nutrient and manure management ‘best practice’ for Jersey agriculture
- determining the water quality improvements that can be achieved from implementing these best practice measures
- reducing nitrate in local water to below 50mg/l
For further information on this project or if you would like to get involved contact the Environmental Protection Officer.