The closed period is approaching for soiled water, it will begin from December 10 and remain in place until December 31.

In 2024, the closed period will begin on December 1, with the exception of winter milk suppliers.

In 2025, the closed period is from December 1 to December 31, for all milk suppliers.

Soiled water is defined under sub-article two of Article 4 of the European Union (Good Agricultural Practice for the Protection of Waters) Regulations 2022, (S.I. 113 of 2022, as amended).

Soiled water

Soiled water is water that has been collected from the milking parlour, collecting yards, unroofed temporary holding yards, washing beet or machinery, and runoff from silage bases.

It includes water from concreted areas, hardstanding areas, holding areas for livestock, and other farmyard areas where such water is contaminated by contact with any of the following:

  • Livestock faeces, urine or silage effluent;
  • Chemical fertilisers;
  • Washings such as vegetable washings, milking parlour washings or washings from mushroom houses;
  • Water used in washing farm equipment.

Within the regulations, soiled water does not include any liquid with a biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) exceeding 2,500mg/L, or a dry matter (DM) content exceeding 1% (10 g/L).

If it is stored together with slurry, it is considered slurry for the purpose of the regulation – and is therefore subject to the same storage and management requirements.

According to the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM), wash down water which becomes lightly contaminated with livestock faeces/urine in the milking parlour shall be considered as soiled water, subject to not exceeding the DM content and BOD thresholds specified above. 

However, wash down water that is allowed to enter a slurry storage tank is deemed to be slurry for the purpose of the Regulations and must comply with the rules pertaining to slurry.