Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Pathogens at waste sites

Nuisance from pathogens at your waste site

Your waste or sewage site may contain microscopic organisms known as pathogens or bioaerosols that can be hazardous to human health. For example, if you operate a composting facility or anaerobic digester your site may contain:

  • bacteria, such as Salmonella and Streptococcus
  • protozoa, such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium
  • parasites, such as beef tapeworm Taeniasaginate and potato cyst nematodes
  • fungal spores
  • viruses.

For information about pests, see our pests guidance.

What you must do

If your business has a permit, licence or exemption you must comply with its conditions, including any conditions about bioaerosols. If you do not comply with conditions you can be fined or sent to prison.

Good practice

Control pathogens at your site

Put appropriate measures in place to control any pathogens at your site.

You may use pesticides or chemicals to control rodents or other pests at your site. Make sure that you do not cause land or water pollution.

If you require assistance with pest control, contact the environmental health department of your local council.

Directgov: Find out about pest control

Contact your local council

Treat compost and sewage sludge to remove pathogens. You could do this by using:

  • sludge pasteurisation and mesophilic anaerobic digestion
  • lime stabilisation for liquid sludge
  • dewatering methods.

For further information about these treatment processes, see Table 1 in the Defra Code of Practice for agriculture use of sewage sludge.

You should also see our guidance on disposing of sewage sludge.

Be a good operator

  • Keep records of how you have managed pathogens at your site including details of any complaints.
  • Manage your site to ensure that it is not a source of human or animal infection.
  • Operate your treatment processes to maximise removal of pathogens from waste or sewage.

Be a good neighbour

  • Speak regularly with your neighbours about any issues with pathogens at your site.
  • If you receive any complaints about pathogens deal with them quickly.

Whats new on NetRegs

  • Waste – Duty of Care Roles and Responsibilities

    The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has published a short guide to the duty of care responsibilities including advice and information for waste producers, carriers and those accepting, storing and treating waste.

    https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/waste-duty-care-responsibilities

  • NetRegs:- FREE, ANONYMOUS, PLAIN ENGLISH GUIDANCE FOR BUSINESSES

  • EIA (Agriculture) Regulations for Northern Ireland

    Any person intending to alter the use or management of areas of uncultivated or semi-natural land must obtain prior approval from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

    Read more on the DAERA website

  • Guidance from your environmental regulator

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  • 9 NEW GPPs (Guidance for Pollution Prevention) available now

    The NetRegs team at SEPA, in partnership with The Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales and a number of industry bodies have produced 9 new GPPs to replace out of date PPGs. More are coming! Check the available topics

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Permits

NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms