The Groundwater Regulations 1998 are designed to control the use and disposal of substances on land which could pollute groundwater; to cover those disposals to land which have not been regulated before; and to place a duty on the environment agencies to serve notices controlling polluting activities if it is necessary to do so.

Where disposals to land have not been regulated before, an authorisation for disposals of any listed substance to land will be required from 1 April 1999. Activities already covered by a waste management licence will be excluded from the scope of the Regulations since groundwater protection is, where appropriate, already taken into account in waste management assessments.

The sectors most likely to be affected are those where discharges or disposals to land which could affect groundwater have not been regulated as a matter of course, such as the spreading of used sheep dip.

The proposed Regulations form part of the UK implementation of the EC Groundwater Directive (80/68/EEC). The Regulations reinforce existing controls which protect groundwater.

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