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These guidelines are intended to assist those involved in the management and operation of stables, kennels and catteries. They are jointly produced by the Environment Agency for England and Wales, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the  Environment and Heritage Service in Northern Ireland, referred to as the Agency or Agencies. Compliance with this guidance should minimise the risk of pollution occurring. The information is for guidance only and is given without prejudice. Each site will be considered according to individual circumstances and early consultation with your local Agency office is advisable.

Contact details can be found at the end of these guidelines.

a. The Agencies are responsible for protecting 'controlled waters' from pollution and preventing pollution of the environment, harm to human health and detriment to local amenities from waste management activities.

'Controlled waters' include all watercourses, lakes, lochs, coastal waters, and water contained in underground strata (' groundwater'). It is an offence to pollute such waters, either deliberately or accidentally. In addition, the formal consent of the Agency is required for many discharges to controlled
waters, including both direct discharges and discharges to soakaways. Such consents are granted subject to conditions and are not issued automatically.

b. All discharges to the public foul sewer require authorisation by the sewerage undertaker and may be subject to the terms and conditions of a trade effluent consent.

c. Waste produced from premises used for breeding, boarding, stabling or exhibiting animals is defined as an industrial waste (under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992) and as such is a controlled waste. The keeping, treatment or disposal of controlled
waste is subject to the waste management licensing regime and the Duty of Care (see Reference 1). Waste with hazardous properties (for example, prescription-only medicines) is subject to additional controls under the Special Waste Regulations 1996. Separate legislation applies in Northern Ireland.
Advice on all aspects of waste management is available from the Agencies.

d. Where the waste comes from a quarantine area or may be infected with a notifiable disease, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is the responsible regulator.

Stables, kennels and catteries are often sited in remote locations away from mains drainage. A number of pollution risks are commonly associated with these types of premises, including:

the storage of oil (particularly heating oil);
the storage of chemicals, including sterilizing agents, biocides, disinfectants and medicines;
foul drainage, including that from associated houses and offices.

Pollution could occur unless storage facilities are secure, drainage is properly designed and installed, and sound waste management and spillage control measures are in place.

The disposal of waste also requires careful management. Any industrial waste produced at the premises should be kept separate from 'normal household' waste; the mixing of household and industrial waste results in all of it being classified as industrial. Household waste, which is waste produced from a
domestic property or a self-contained part of a building used wholly for living accommodation, is subject to different legislation. Household waste is generally collected free of charge by the local collection authority or can be taken to your local civic amenity site.

a. Stables
Stables produce highly polluting run-off from dirty yards, the washing out of stables and practices such as soaking hay to suppress dust. Exercise pools also present problems (particularly when being drained down) due to the presence of treatment chemicals and associated sediments or solids.

b. Kennels The washing down of kennels and rainfall-related run-off can produce a highly polluting effluent. This may also result in large variations in flow to a treatment plant. A suitably sized sedimentation tank should be installed to balance flows and to provide an opportunity for solids separation prior to the treatment plant. Unless the flow is careful managed to ensure a suitable level of dilution is maintained, the presence of biocides such as gluteraldehyde will make drainage from these areas unsuitable for treatment by conventional sewage treatment plants.

Hunt kennels often have 'flesh houses' where animal carcasses are prepared for feeding to the hounds; drainage from flesh houses and carcass storage areas can be severely contaminated.

c. Catteries In general, the risk from catteries is lower. However, there are still potential problems associated with washing down and the use of disinfectants. Inadequate storage of heating oil and chemicals can also lead to problems.

d. General Stables, kennels and catteries can produce both liquid and solid wastes. Where liquid waste is neither conveyed to the foul sewer nor discharged within the terms of a discharge consent, it will need to be collected and disposed of at a suitably licensed or exempt facility. This may
involve tankering the liquid waste to a sewage treatment works or to an alternative licensed facility.

The spreading of septic tank sludge on agricultural land may be exempt from waste management licensing subject to certain criteria (including a demonstrable benefit to agriculture or ecological improvement). Full details of these criteria are available from your local Agency office. Advice should be sought from the local veterinary service if there is any doubt as to the safety of applying a particular waste to agricultural land.

Solid waste such as contaminated bedding, food containers, faecal matter and empty chemical containers must be disposed of via a suitably licensed facility. On-site composting may not require a waste management licence, but the composting plant must be registered with the Agency before being brought into use. The open burning of controlled wastes is an offence under the Environment Protection Act 1990; the only exception is uncontaminated wood, bark and plant matter (provided certain conditions are met). Disposal at a civic amenity site may be possible, but many do not accept industrial waste. Advice on those that do can be obtained either from the Agency or your local authority.

Special care is required with clinical waste such as infected linen, bandaging, used syringes and empty medicine containers. This is particularly important when syringes and containers are contaminated with chemicals or drugs (this is likely unless they have been washed out thoroughly). Such waste will need to be collected separately. It may also be defined as special waste and thus have to be disposed of according to the 'cradle-to-grave' notification procedure required by the Special Waste Regulations 1996. For further guidance on the safe disposal of clinical waste, see Reference 2.

There may be additional requirements for quarantine kennels, particularly with regard to the incineration of waste. This requires a special permit or authorisation. Disposal of material that could be infected with a notifiable disease or which comes from a quarantine unit is regulated by DEFRA.

All oil storage tanks should be bunded, secure and located away from any surface water drains (see PPG2 PPG2 -Reference 3). In England, domestic oil storage over 3,500 litres and oil storage containers larger than 200 litres used for business purposes must be bunded under the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage)( England) Regulations 2001 (Reference 4).

Clean water (for example, from roofs or uncontaminated areas) can be discharged direct to the nearest watercourse without treatment. It should be kept away from foul or contaminated water drains. Down pipes from roofs should have sealed connections to surface water drains.

Wherever possible, connection to the public foul sewer should be made. This will require the prior consent of the sewage undertaker. If no foul sewer is available, 'domestic' foul drainage should be directed to a private sewage treatment plant, a septic tank and soakaway or a cesspool. The choice will depend on the site's circumstances. PPG4 (Reference 5) provides more detailed guidance.
a. Stables Run-off from contaminated yards, manure heaps, stable washing and hay soaking should be directed to either an impermeable lagoon or a sealed effluent tank. The liquid can either be removed by a licensed contractor for off-site disposal or, if appropriate, be spread to land. Consult your local Agency office for advice. Water used to backwash filters from exercise pools should not be spread on land. Depending on the location, small stables may be able to treat effluent in a private sewage treatment plant.

Temporary field manure heaps should be located where there is no risk of run-off causing pollution. They should not be located near field drains, within 10 metres of a watercourse or 50 metres of a spring, well or borehole that supplies water for human consumption (see Reference 6).

Exercise pool water may have to stand for seven days after chlorination or other chemical treatments before it can be disposed of. Care should be taken to control the rate of discharge to prevent a sudden increase in flow causing harm to the receiving waters or sewer.

Pool chemicals should be kept in a secure store or within a bunded storage area, and preferably covered by a roof. This area should be sited on an impervious base and surrounded by a suitable wall that is resistant to chemical attack. There should be no drainage outlet. In the event of a chemical spillage and if appropriate, contain the liquid and use an absorbent material to soak it up. If any chemicals enter or might enter surface water drains, contact the Agency immediately using the emergency number given at the end of these guidelines. Please be aware of the health and safety implications of dealing with spillages of pool chemicals.

b. Kennels and catteries Washdown from kennels and catteries and drainage from flesh houses should be directed to the foul sewer or, if it is not available, to a sealed cesspool. These areas should be covered to prevent rainwater being collected. The contents of the cesspool can either be removed by a licensed contractor for off-site disposal or be disposed of by irrigation to agricultural land (subject to specific criteria). Contact your local Agency office for further information. Storage may be necessary at certain times of the year (see Reference 6).

Kennel washdown water is not subject to animal health controls or to restrictions on its discharge or use for land irrigation. The only exception is when there is an outbreak of a notifiable disease at the kennels, when DEFRA is then responsible.

Drainage to a private sewage treatment plant must only be considered as a last option, and only if appropriate treatment and flow balancing are provided. The plant will require routine maintenance to be carried out under a contract with the supplier (specialist knowledge is required to ensure correct operation to meet consent conditions). Because the high strength of the effluent may affect the adequacy of the treatment, advice should be sought on the design, installation and operation of this type of plant.

Solid waste should be collected, bagged or otherwise suitably contained and disposed of to a suitably licensed facility. The operation of a crematorium for the disposal of dead cats and dogs is likely to require a waste management licence and approval for the incinerator. Advice is available from your local Agency office.

Pollution can render surface water, groundwater, soil and air unsuitable for legitimate uses.

The treating, keeping and disposal of controlled waste without an appropriate waste management licence or an exemption is an offence. The discharge of trade effluent or polluting matter to controlled waters without a consent is also an offence.

In addition, the producer of waste has a Duty of Care (see Reference 1) to ensure that it is stored and disposed of in accordance with all appropriate legislation. In practical terms, the producer should ensure that:
the waste is disposed of at a suitably licensed or exempt facility (in simple terms this means knowing where it is going and checking with the local Agency office that this is a satisfactory disposal route);
the waste does not escape from control (including liquor run-off) by ensuring that it is adequately contained or packaged for transit;
a detailed description of each waste type (including the quantity) within each load is given on the waste transfer note (copies of these notes should be kept for two years);
anybody collecting the waste is registered as a waste carrier. If in doubt, contact the local Agency office. With the exception of building and demolition waste, producers transporting their own waste are exempt from the need to register. However, the special waste consignment note procedure (see Reference 7) will need to be complied with if special waste is carried.
When an offence has been committed, the Agency will take legal action if appropriate. Courts have the power to impose fines of up to 20,000 or a prison sentence on conviction. In addition, any costs incurred in remedying or mitigating the effects of pollution may be recovered by the Agency from the polluter.

1. Waste management, the Duty of Care, A code of practice (revised 1996), ISBN 0-11-753210X: The Stationery Office, Tel: 08706 005522

2. The safe disposal of clinical waste, 1999, ISBN 0-71-7624927, Health and Safety Commission: HSE Books, Tel: 01787 881165

3. PPG2: Above ground storage tanks
4. Oil storage regulations leaflet: Environment Agency
5. PPG4: Disposal of sewage where no mains drainage is available
6. Code of good agricultural practice for the protection of water: Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Tel: 0845 933 5577
Code of good practice for the prevention of environmental pollution from agricultural activities:
Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD), Tel: 0131 244 6023
Series of 11 leaflets 'Water -preventing pollution': Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland,
Tel: 028 9052 4999

7. A guide to the Special Waste Regulations 1996 (as amended): Environment Agency
A guide to the Special Waste Regulations 1996: SEPA
A guide to the Special Waste Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1998: Environment and Heritage Service

References 3, 5 and 7 are available free of charge from your local Agency office.

0800 80 70 60
The 24-hour emergency hotline number for reporting all environmental incidents relating to air, land and water in
England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.


Kingfisher House
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