Farm Pesticide Storage Facility
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Table of Contents
This Factsheet describes key regulatory requirements and best management practices to consider when planning and constructing a pesticide storage facility for the farm.
Pesticide products are very useful tools in agricultural production. Used correctly, they contribute to higher productivity and higher quality characteristics in crops. Pesticides herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides, miticides, nematicides include biological and chemical products used to prevent, control or destroy pests such as insects, weeds or diseases.
Pesticide use may pose risks to humans, livestock, wildlife and the environment. Understanding the risks associated with storage of pesticides and managing these risks in a proactive, environmentally sustainable way provides safe working conditions and protects the environment.
A pesticide product must be registered by Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency and classified by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) to be sold and used in Ontario.
The MOE regulates the sale, use, transportation, storage and disposal of federally registered pesticides in Ontario. Pesticides are classified based on toxicity, persistence in the environment and other factors. Detailed information on this process and other legislated requirements can be found under the Pesticides tab on the MOE website.
Any farmer can purchase and use Class 5, 6 and 7 products. Uncertified farmers who present a Farm Business Registration Number or a signed Farmer Self Declaration form to a General Vendor can purchase Class 4 products for use on the agricultural operations they own or manage. Certified farmers can purchase Class 2 and 3 products for use on the agricultural operations they own or manage, in addition to Class 4, 5, 6 and 7 products.
It is important to minimize the amount of pesticides stored on the farm. Purchase only what is needed for one growing season. Ensure that all pesticides are stored properly and safely. Under the Pesticides Act, 1990, and O. Reg. 63/09, it is illegal to store pesticides under unsafe conditions.
Store all pesticides in their original containers or, if the original container is damaged, in a secondary container that is made of similar material with a legible label. The label must clearly indicate the name of the pesticide, the concentration of each pesticide active ingredient and the pest control product (PCP) registration number assigned to it under the federal Pest Control Products Act, 2006, or the Fertilizers Act, 1985.
The area where pesticides are stored must be maintained in good repair and kept in a clean and orderly condition.
All classified pesticides must be stored so that:
If Class 2 or 3 pesticide products are stored indoors, ventilate the compartment, room or structure where the pesticide is stored to the outside atmosphere. Use either a passive or forced air mechanical ventilation system to exhaust fumes from the storage area.
Personal Protective Equipment
Where Class 2 or 3 pesticide products are stored, provide adequate respiratory protection and protective clothing for emergency purposes. According to O. Reg. 63/09, adequate protective clothing includes rubber or neoprene boots, rubber or neoprene gloves, hats, coats and other garments that effectively protect the user from adverse effects that might result from a pesticide coming in contact with the skin during or after the handling or use of a pesticide. The pesticide product label and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are a good source of information regarding specific personal protective equipment.
To ensure that respiratory protection and protective clothing is readily available for use in an emergency, store them nearby but not inside the storage area (e.g., in an adjacent room or structure); this also protects the equipment from becoming contaminated in a spill or other emergency.
If Class 2 or 3 pesticide products are stored, there cannot be any floor drains in the storage area that lead to a storm sewer, sanitary sewer or watercourse.
The door leading to the storage area must be locked to control access and prevent unauthorized entry.
Segregation Class 2 Pesticides
Class 2 pesticide products have additional storage requirements they must be stored in an area that is used primarily for the storage of pesticides. Establishing a clearly defined portion of a pesticide storage area, such as a separate shelf or segregated location within the storage area, or an identified portion of a shelf or compartment is a recommended practice when Class 2 products are involved.
All pesticide storage areas must have a warning sign prominently displayed near the area and at all entrances bearing, in clearly visible, block letters, the words:
More specific information on the warning sign (text, colour, version date) is found at MOE's website.
Chemical storage warning signs are available from the Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (previously known as the Farm Safety Association) at www.wsps.ca or 1-877-494-9777.
A separate, free-standing building is the best type of storage area. Farmers can purchase prefabricated pesticide storage or modular units (Figure 1) or construct a separate structure that is used exclusively for the storage of pesticides.
The requirements under O. Reg. 63/09 can be incorporated into these units, which are available in various sizes, up to approximately 9.3 m2 (100 ft2) in floor area.
A pesticide storage area can be constructed within another building if appropriate fire separation is provided. The fire separation requirement is explained later in this Factsheet.
Figure 1. A prefabricated pesticide storage. (Photo courtesy of Brooklin Concrete Inc.)
Selecting a site for a pesticide storage that is both practical and safe for people and the environment requires the consideration of a number of factors, including human safety, potential for surface water and groundwater contamination, livestock feeds, wildlife habitat, access, soil conditions and potential for future expansion.
Detailed information relating to each of the site selection factors is found in the OMAFRA publication, BMP 13, Pesticide Storage, Handling and Application.
To protect from fires, separate pesticide storages from other farm buildings by a minimum of 30 m (100 ft) or by using a fire separation, such as exterior walls, with a minimum fire-resistance rating of 1 hour.
Regulatory Building Requirements
Farmers choosing to construct their own pesticide storage structure must also ensure that they satisfy the requirements of the Building Code (O. Reg. 350/06) made under the Building Code Act, 1992.
For information on constructing a farm building in Ontario, see the OMAFRA Factsheet, Constructing a Farm Building in Ontario, Order No. 07-007.
The National Farm Building Code of Canada, 1995, covers structural sufficiency, fire safety and health requirements for the protection of persons in farm buildings. The Code includes a number of requirements related to pesticide storage.
The additional requirements of the National Farm Building Code of Canada include:
Plan drawings and construction details for a 2,440 mm x 3,650 mm (8 ft x 12 ft) wood frame, steel-clad storage structure, which incorporates the regulatory requirements, are found in OMAFRA publication BMP 13, Pesticide Storage, Handling, and Application.
Before construction begins, contact the Chief Building Official in your municipality regarding any additional Building Code or siting requirements that may apply.
The following best management practices are examples of structural and other related features that can be incorporated into a pesticide storage facility to address regulatory requirements and provide additional integrity and effectiveness for the storage area.
Volatile product storage: Store insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides and fungicides apart from each other in the facility. Store volatile products in a tightly sealed container or in a separate area.
Clean-up materials: Ensure that enough absorbent material (such as kitty litter or soil) is available to clean up any spills or leaks from containers.
Floor: Seal the concrete floor with an approved concrete-sealer product.
Roof: Reduce heat build-up with light-coloured roofing.
Passive (i.e., natural) ventilation: For unheated or non-insulated storages, provide at least 0.55 m2 (6 ft2) of total inlet and exhaust area per 9.3 m2 (100 ft2) of building floor area.
Mechanical ventilation: For heated and insulated storages, the goal is to exchange one-quarter to half of the air in the building per minute. For a storage area having a floor area of 9.3 m2 (100 ft2), a 2025 cm (810 in.) diameter exhaust fan normally does the job. Install a switching system so that the fan can be turned on manually prior to entry and use a timer to turn on the fan periodically, to allow stale air to be removed.
Protection from freezing: Include an insulated cabinet equipped with low-wattage electric bulbs and a thermostat to provide winter storage for chemicals susceptible to freezing. The stored items must not come in contact with the bulbs.
Anteroom: Include an anteroom with a separate outside entrance to provide a clean non-contaminated area for storage of safety equipment and clothing that is completely sealed off from the storage section and ventilates separately through the soffits.
Hydrant: Locate a frost-free water hydrant outside the storage facility. Install a backflow valve/siphon preventer (self-draining type) on the discharge end of the hydrant.
Ramp: Form a concrete ramp (broom finish) with a finished elevation equal to the top of the curb to facilitate loading and unloading with a front-end loader.
Fire extinguisher: Locate an ABC-type fire extinguisher in close proximity to, but not in, the pesticide storage facility.
More details on these and other best management practices can be found in OMAFRA publication BMP 13, Pesticide Storage, Handling and Application.
Establishing a pesticide storage facility that meets all the regulatory requirements for safety and environmental protection requires careful planning. A properly planned and constructed facility is functional, efficient, and minimizes the risks to humans, livestock, wildlife and the environment.
The information contained in this Factsheet is not authoritative. It is derived from the Pesticides Act, O. Reg. 63/09, O. Reg. 350/06 and the National Farm Building Code of Canada (1995) and is for informational purposes only. Efforts have been made to make it as accurate as possible, but in the event of a conflict, inconsistency or error, the requirements set out in the referenced legislation take precedence. Please consult the act and regulations at www.e-laws.gov.on.ca for the specific legal details, and consult your lawyer if you have questions about your legal obligations.
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