Extension Ag Update
January/February 2003
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Containment For On-Farm Storage of Agrichemicals

The Illinois Pesticide Act and rules contain requirements for the proper storage and handling of pesticides and fertilizers. Original requirements mainly focused on commercial and noncommercial facilities and became effective January 1, 1990. Many changes have occurred in agriculture since 1990, including merger and consolidation of many agrichemical companies and an increase in farm size. These changes have made on-farm, noncommercial storage of bulk agrichemicals more feasible. The Illinois Director of Agriculture, under the authorities granted in the Illinois Pesticide Act and the Illinois Fertilizer Act of 1961, is responsible for creating reasonable requirements for storage and handling of agrichemicals. Increases in the number of producers installing or considering addition of bulk-storage facilities on farms facilitate the need for environmentally responsible and economically reasonable containment requirements.

Requirements: Effective July 1, 2002 Illinois farmers who were not subject to the earlier requirements and who have been or will be storing agrichemicals in excess of certain amounts will be required to provide secondary containment for those storage tanks. Producers will be required to register their sites and apply for a containment permit through the Illinois Department of Agriculture. These new containment requirements for on-farm storage sites are not as comprehensive as those for commercial facilities. All liquid pesticide and liquid fertilizer nonmobile storage tanks at an on-farm storage facility must be located within a secondary-containment structure. Dry fertilizer or dry pesticide materials must be stored in a manner to prevent pollution by minimizing losses to the air, surface water, underground water, or subsoil. Dry pesticides and fertilizers must be stored inside a sound structure or device having a cover or roofed top, sidewalls, and base adequate to prevent contact with precipitation and surface waters.

Definition: An on-farm storage facility is a permanent site designed and used for noncommercial storage of pesticides or fertilizers for more then 45 consecutive days in a single, nonmobile container that exceeds the following capacities: 300 gallons of bulk liquid pesticides, 300 pounds of bulk dry pesticides, 5,000 gallons of bulk liquid fertilizer, or 50,000 pounds of bulk dry fertilizer. Also, to qualify as an on-farm storage facility, it must not be used for commercial purposes or would not meet the entire definition of a non-commercial agrichemical facility, which includes mixing and loading of agri-chemicals and the noncommercial application of pesticides and fertilizers.

Time frame: All existing on-farm storage facilities may continue to operate as they meet the compliance time frames listed here. Facilities not in existence on July 1, 2002, must install secondary containment before the storage facility can be operated. All existing on-farm storage facilities must register with the Illinois Department of Agriculture by March 31, 2003. Upon receipt of a completed registration form, the department will issue a compliance schedule to each registered facility by June 30, 2003. Detailed construction plans and specifications of the secondary-containment structure must be submitted to the department as part of the permit application by March 31, 2004. Permits must be obtained before any construction can begin. All secondary-containment construction must be completed by June 30, 2005. Contact the Illinois Department of Agriculture for registration forms and additional information: On-Farm Storage Facility Program Illinois, Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Environmental Programs, P.O. Box 19281, Springfield, IL 62794-9281, (217) 785-2427 or (800) 641-3934