Pesticide Storage Requirements

Storing, using, and disposing of pesticides.

At the commercial level, there are a wide variety of business interests that use pesticides, and in many cases, store a bulk supply for future use. While the average corporate headquarters may rely on a third-party service to manage property landscaping needs, certain businesses must take responsibility for storing, using, and disposing of their own pesticides.

Many farming operations, for example, have a lot of ground to cover. They may have to store bulk pesticides for use on their crops. Golf courses are another good example of businesses that require the application of mass quantities of pesticides at least annually, and often more frequently.

Naturally, other business interests may find that they need pesticides in lesser quantities. However, any company that stores pesticides onsite must follow all applicable requirements related to safe and proper storage and handling. Here are a few things that any company storing pesticides should know.

Location

Where you decide to put your IBC containers or pesticide storage cabinet is not entirely up to you. The location of hazardous material storage is often subject to legal standards for safety.

For example, federal and/or state laws may mandate that pesticides can't be stored near open water (lakes, ponds, and even wells). You also don't want hazardous chemicals stored near heat sources, open flames, explosive or combustible materials, or other hazardous substances.

In addition, such chemicals should be kept well away from feed intended for livestock or food storage of any kind. After all, pesticides can be poisonous to humans and animals. For this reason, you don't want to place your chemical storage near feeding pens, animal enclosures, or human habitation on the property.

The location you choose for pesticide storage should not only conform to federal and state rules and regulations; it should also be common sense. Pick a site that is easy to access for the purposes of transporting storage containers. Just make sure that you secure it properly so that outsiders aren't able to wander in and gain access to chemical pesticides.

Containers

Some pesticides will come in their own containers for safety purposes. Others can be safely transferred to larger storage containers such as barrels or heavy duty IBCs. There are several important considerations when it comes to storage containers for pesticides.

If at all possible, you should try to keep pesticides in the containers they come in and take pains not to intermingle hazardous materials. All containers should be properly labeled in keeping with federal and state laws regarding hazardous chemicals. Containers should also have appropriate lids and/or caps for the purposes of safe handling and storage.

There are also clear laws stating that pesticides may not be stored in any containers that are commonly used for food, drink, or household products.

Cabinets

Any pesticide storage cabinet should include a number of safety provisions. Since many pesticides are liquids, a storage cabinet with some kind of sump to catch liquid overflow in the event of spills or leaks is wise.

Cabinets must also be properly ventilated to account for hazards like the build-up of noxious fumes or combustible gases, or to ensure heat and moisture don't accumulate inside. Storage cabinets for pesticides should have locks, as well, to ensure that only approved individuals have access to the chemicals within.

Environmental Controls

We're not talking about the Environmental Protection Agency here, although their rules and regulations are certainly important; you should always comply with them when storing any hazardous chemicals, pesticides included. Environmental controls refer to the environment in which pesticides are stored.

The labels on pesticide containers should include safe storage information, such as instructions on appropriate temperature and possibly humidity of the storage area. Extreme heat could damage storage containers or their contents, resulting in dangerous situations.

Safety

When storing chemical pesticides, safety is a top concern. No business owner wants to contend with the fallout from accidental poisoning of employees or environmental hazards related to a spill.

The good news is that organizations like OSHA and the EPA provide a laundry list of rules and regulations designed to meet standards for safe operations. For example, you may have to post notices that there are hazardous chemicals on the premises.

You might also need to provide equipment to safely rinse and drain areas (or persons) exposed to pesticides. There is no shortage of laws regarding proper disposal of pesticides. As long as you know the rules and you use common sense, you should have no problem safely storing, handling, and disposing of pesticides.