How to Safely Store Pesticides in Bulk

How to safely store pesticides in bulk.

Guidance on how to store pesticides in a safe way.

Safely storing bulk and industrial quantities of pesticides is a particular challenge. Here is some guidance on how to make sure that your pesticides are stored in a safe way.There are regulations from state, municipal, and also likely federal jurisdictions to be followed when it comes to the safe handling and storage of pesticides.

Pesticides are very important chemicals. They allow us to grow our crops and otherwise preserve certain perishable items that would be eaten or contaminated by all sorts of critters if we did not have a chemical means of defending ourselves against them. But pesticides are nothing to played around with, either. Mishandling these chemicals can be more dangerous than not using them at all, both for the environment and for ourselves directly. Safely storing bulk and industrial quantities of pesticides is a particular challenge. Here is some guidance on how to make sure that your pesticides are stored in a safe way.

Follow Regulations

There are regulations from state, municipal, and also likely federal jurisdictions to be followed when it comes to the safe handling and storage of pesticides. Often times it's not sufficient to just stick everything in a pesticide storage cabinet and call it a day. There are often permitting requirements and protocols for storage that carry financial and legal consequences if not followed, as well as the potential for environmental, health and physical damages.

For example, if you are storing bulk quantities of pesticides in the state of Minnesota, you won’t need a permit if you are storing pesticides in "mini-bulk" containers with a rated capacity of between 56 and 499 gallons, but you do need a permit if you exceed storage in that range. You would also need a bulk agrichemical storage permit if should even construct, or substantially expand an existing, bulk agrichemical storage facility. Otherwise you'll likely be hit with financial penalties starting at $250, but more importantly your ability to handle any such chemicals will be halted until you come into compliance.

Different states and cities have different regulations, so you will want to consult the offices of your local and state governments and environmental bodies to make sure that you are in compliance with whatever their particular protocols may happen to be. You'll also probably have to acquire authorization from the EPA before repackaging pesticides at your facility in the form of an establishment number issued from whatever EPA region you may fall in to.

Rules for Storage

The first rule of safe pesticide storage is that it must be contained on a site that is away from any human as well as livestock habitat. Close proximity to any living quarters presents a health risk that you don't want to take.  Sometimes a facility cannot be completely separate from where people or animals typically reside, in which case the storage area must be quartered separately within the facility solely for this purpose.

You also want to make sure that, wherever the chemicals are stored, that the location is not susceptible to flooding. To have bulk pesticide running out with water after a flood could be catastrophic. If there is a chance of there being any spills or runoffs (and it's general best to assume that there is always a chance of that), then the storage units should be set up so that runoff and leaks can never make their way into any water sources where the toxins can become communicable to others. For instance, you never want your pesticide and chemical storage within 100 feet of a wellhead, no matter how secure you believe your storage to be.

Furthermore, you want to make sure that no unauthorized personnel or visitors can access the storage facility, much less get their hands on any sensitive chemicals. Clear warning signs and secure locks are very important in this regard. Always assume that it is necessary to make it clear to people that they are not allowed in this facility without explicit and proper clearance.

Finally, you want to be very certain that you store chemicals and pesticides at proper temperatures. Excessive heat can melt plastic containers, leading to leaks or escaping of fumes. Temperatures that are too cold can cause containers to break or crack, whether they are glass, metal, or plastic. Pesticides can volatilize and become more dangerous if exposed or the potency of the product will simply diminish. Keep your pesticides stored indoors, and utilize a modulated temperature control unit to make sure that these sensitive chemicals are never vulnerable to temperature extremes. The consequences are not pretty if they are.