Water body restrictions

The purpose of water body restrictions printed on the sales packaging of plant protection products is to protect the plants and animals of water bodies from the detrimental effects of plant protection products. As a rule, the safe use of plant protection products requires restrictions on the product’s use in the vicinity of water bodies. Also remember not to spray plant protection products within one meter of a main drain.

Taking water bodies into account:

  • Do not spray in windy weather.
  • Also remember not to fill tractor sprayers from water bodies with the sprayer filling device.  
  • When spraying the mixture from the tank, leave a buffer zone equal to the buffer zone width of the product with the largest buffer zone.
  • Do not pour left-over spraying liquid or sprayer washing liquid into water bodies or sewers.

Water bodies consist of

Protect water bodies from spray drift

The safe use of roughly one in five products near water bodies requires the use of drift reducing nozzles.  

  • Please note that the buffer zone width varies as follows according to the product and application:
    • the minimum buffer zone width is always 3 metres;

    • field crops 3—20 metres;

    • berries, ornamental plants and nurseries 3—30 metres; and

    • fruit trees 3—50 metres, see the figure.
  • Measure the buffer zone width from the waterline at the time of spraying.

  • Please note that your choice of nozzle will have an impact on the concentration of plant protection products entering the water body and, consequently, the width of the buffer zone for your product.

  • Drift reducing nozzles are mandatory within 100 metres of the waterline.

  • The use of drift reducing nozzles in the vicinity of water bodies is recommended even if not required on the sales packaging, as such nozzles can be switched to regular fan nozzles at any time.

A list of drift reducing nozzles is provided in the following illustrative tables:

The maximum permitted operating pressure values for each nozzle type are given in the tables. You can adjust spray drift by adjusting the operating pressure, vehicle speed and water volume in accordance with the instructions (in Finnish).

If there is a forest between you and the water body, the buffer zone widths do not apply, since the woods will prevent the spray drift of the plant protection product in to the water body, see the figure.

The forest must be

  • between the water body and spraying area;
  • a minimum of 3 metres wide;
  • at least 5 metres high, thick growth with full foliage from the ground up; and
  • either natural growth or, for example, a planted quick hedge.

Protect water bodies from surface runoff

Some products have the greatest impact on water bodies through surface runoff. In such cases, the buffer zone cannot be reduced by using drift reducing nozzles. The sales packaging of such products normally specifies a 10-metre buffer zone from water bodies. Tukes recommends planting perennial grasses in the buffer zone, since vegetation prevents surface runoff effectively.

Reducing the risks caused by drainage runoff         

Concentrations caused by drainage runoff cannot be reduced with buffer zones. The risks caused to water bodies by drainage runoff can only be prevented by restricting the use of the product in, for example, the autumn, when heavy rains can convey plant protection products to drains and, from there, to water bodies.

Frequently asked questions