Critical points for point source pollution in the Yser catchment area (Flanders-France).Commun Agric Appl Biol Sci. 2008; 73(4):787-97.CA
In the frame of the European TOPPS project (Train the Operator to prevent Pollution from Point Sources), 200 on farm audits and 300 tele interviews were performed in the Yser catchment area. The objective was to determine the critical points for point source pollution within the spraying process and to inform advisors, intermediaries and farmers on practical measures and achievable solutions to reduce the contamination of the surface water by Plant Protection Products (PPP) due to point source pollution. For the on farm auditing, the Aquasite tool (Arvalis-France) was used. This audit was performed on 100 farms in the Flemish Yser catchment and on 100 farms at the French side. This audit reveals the weak points in infrastructure and technology on the farm in relation to the spraying process. Next, 150 tele interviews were held in the respective catchment areas. These interviews assess the awareness and behaviour of the farmers on point source pollution. The strength of these studies is in giving a view on the real situation on the farms with respect to spraying. The critical points and risks for point source pollution were similar for both regions. Especially the filling and mixing of the sprayer, internal and external cleaning of the sprayer and the management of the waste fraction need specific training, demonstration and advice. However, there is a large difference in the risk perception of point source pollution between farmers on both sides of the border. The transgressing approach of the Yser catchment allows to make a comparison between both regions and allows to assess in which way the legislation had part in explaining the differences between the regions as the agriculture in both regions is similar. Also, the results stress the importance of trainings and sensibilisation at a regional scale.