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SEPA warns against gypsum bedding

posted 4 Jul 2012, 05:37 by David Mair   [ updated 12 Jul 2012, 09:23 ]
SEPA have confirmed that recycled gypsum (Plasterboard) may present a serious risk to farmers and there cattle. This is following an increase in cases during 2012 with over a dozen cattle deaths on Scottish farms related to waste plasterboardas a bedding material. 

Some important safety points to keep in mind:
Slurry tank mixing points should extend beyond the building to allow mixing safely
Mixing point under construction extending beyond slurry tank

  • Before starting, take all animals out of the building and open all ventilation, doors etc
  • If possible don't mix slurry on a calm day
  • Never enter the building when the pump mixing the slurry or emptying the store is working 
  • Ensure there is always another person present who stays outside the shed and can summon help if needed, but without entering the building and endangering themselves
  • If entry is absolutely necessary, only appropriately supervised, competent persons, equipped with harness, lifeline and breathing apparatus, should enter slurry storage cellars and tanks

"SEPA advises against the use of waste gypsum and gypsum from waste plasterboard in animal bedding on basis that it may present a serious risk to life.
As there are no exemptions in the waste legislation to allow the use of waste gypsum and waste plasterboard as animal bedding, any such uses may be reported to the Procurator Fiscal as an offence under section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

SEPA will not agree to the use of plasterboard and waste gypsum as animal bedding until there is clear scientific evidence to demonstrate that it does not pose a risk to livestock, humans and the environment from hydrogen sulphide generation.

SEPA is aware that research into the use of gypsum in different bedding systems may be undertaken and we will review this SEPA Position Statement if and when the results of research become available."

David mair