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Use of waste products on agricultural land

Ratification Date: 10 Aug 2007

Position statement

The application to agricultural land of recycled waste products is supported only when such use complies with state and territory legislation and is based on published environmental guidelines. Recycled waste products include sewage sludge, treated waste water, abattoir effluent and other industrial or farm waste products.

The use of waste products that potentially puts human, animal, or environmental health at risk is not supported.

Background

Application of various waste products to agricultural land has increased as a result of intensification of animal production and a desire to minimise the environmental impact of human waste. Waste products have been used on land used for forestry, horticulture and animal production.

State and national guidelines have been developed to assist environmental and agricultural agencies to deal with the risks associated with the use of many of these waste products. Such risks can include traditional zoonoses such as parasites (Taenia saginata or beef measles), protozoans (cryptosporidia), bacteria (Salmonella, Campylobacter, Yersinia, Q Fever) and viruses (Norwalk-like viruses). Other risks include contamination of soil and animals with heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and chromium.

Human or animal waste products may be contaminated with antibiotics, antibiotic-resistant bacteria or hormones. Risks to animal health from ingestion of these contaminants, and to human health from transmission of the contaminants from animals, must be avoided. In particular, environmental contamination of surface and groundwater, especially where such contamination can later lead to animal contamination, should not occur.

Date of ratification by AVA Board 10 August 2007