Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chemical Storage and Mix/Load Facilities, What are Your Options?

By Michael D. Vogt, CGCS, CGIA

There are several options that we recommend when building a new facility or renovating an older chemical storage area.

• Have a containment area where the chemicals are stored, a curb of concrete around the base of the room or building. A water tight seal should be incorporated in the concrete placement at all concrete control, expansion and construction joints; the rubberized, PVC or neoprene seals at the concrete joints are known as water stops. After concrete cures a concrete sealer and elastomeric joint filler should be applied.

• Be sure to install a controlled temperature system and adequate ventilation system. Many chemicals need to be protected from freezing as well as extreme high temperatures. We normally recommend storing chemicals in the temperature range of 40°F to 90°F, with low humidity.

• A building away from the main drainage of water and surface water is always recommended. Most all of our plans have the chemical storage and mix and load building separate from any other structure by at least 200 feet, 400 is best.

• The most desirable construction materials for walls are concrete masonry units and placed concrete. These materials are durable and if treated with sealers are resistant to the absorption of chemicals.

• A floor sump system should be considered to retain, reuse or dispose of chemical rinsates and unintended releases in storage areas.

• Dry and liquids should be stored away from each other; most of our plans have two separate rooms to keep these two types away from each other. And within these rooms herbicides, insecticides and fungicides should be segregated as well.

Poorly stored chemicals with no
rhyme or reason

• All shelving should be made of a non-absorbing material, commercial grade kitchen chrome plated round stock steel shelving works best.

We normally design storage and mix and load facilities in the same building. The reasoning is:

• Security; everything that encompasses storage and application of chemicals is under one roof.

• Safety; the chemical concentrate products are in an area that they will be mixed to dilution. Ventilation is already installed, the building designed to be large enough to clean, maintain and store sprayers and chemicals.

• Safety; if an uncontrolled release occurred; the clean-up site is removed from other working areas and buildings. If a fire was to involve the chemical building a separate type of protocol is required from fire fighters.

• The storage of chemicals and filling of equipment to prepare sprays is very controlled, water source is backflow protected, spills are contained, ventilation is good, chemicals are in close proximity, sprayers can calibrated, cleaned, maintained and stored in the chemical building away from all other golf course maintenance functions.

These are some of the latest greatest products out there for chemical storage, and how they ensuring more safety and compliance than ever before

I believe that when superintendents consider the storage and application of chemicals they should try to segregate as much of the process from the rest of the operation as possible. By storing all things related to chemical application in a separate area it’s much safer and the superintendent is in a position to be able to control all of the moving parts of the chemical application process.

The many golf course maintenance facilities I have seen over the years all too often have chemicals, fertilizers, shovels, equipment and coffee makers all stored under the same roof. This is no fault to the superintendent; it was not until recently a maintenance facility was considered a steel “building-in-a-box” with a concrete floor and several rooms in one end of the building. These cheap metal buildings soon began rusting and getting dented by machinery and subsequently after ten years the building was starting to fall apart and busting at the seams with every maintenance item in one big lump under a metal roof. The biggest reason these metal building become popular in the 60s through the 80s is they where a giant step up from the “old barn” and cheap at less than $15 per square foot in many cases.

Considering the fact that most maintenance facilities should last fifty years or more, industrial architecture is being used to plan and program buildings to specifically fit the needs of golf course maintenance rather than a steel building; being configured to make-due for a cheap maintenance facility.

As for products supplied to the superintendent for chemical dispersal; the best single item is the chemical manufactures selling their products in large format packages, like LinksPaks™. This packaging makes it easy to safely store large quantities of product. The empties are easily recycled, and ten gallon quantities are slightly cheaper than small format packages.

Standard operating procedures when it comes to storing chemicals

These are the several of the best management practices when considering common sense storage of turf care chemicals:

• Ideally, store liquids away from dry chemicals, if that’s not possible, store liquids below dry chemicals

• Have some type of containment; even cheap plastic bins can be used to store chemicals on the shelves.

• Make every effort to keep chemical packages dry and in their original containers with a legible label.

• Look for old chemicals and get rid of them! I can’t tell you how many superintendents have old chemicals stashed in the dark corners of the building. Many municipalities have programs to dispose of these products.

Get the old chemicals out of your storage facility

• Get rid of the wood shelves, the wood can become contaminated with chemical overtime; toxic waste.

• Be vigilant and keep chemicals locked when not using the specific storage area.

• Have a ventilation system in chemical storage areas.

• Have an emergency plan in place in case of fire, flood or uncontrolled release of chemicals and be sure to educate all employees on that plan.

• Keep a separate file or a three ring binder of labels that you have or have used in a separate place for reference.

• Keep personal protection devices (PPE) away from chemical storage areas (goggles, safety glasses, respirators, dust masks, gloves, face shields, ear protection, etc.)

• Install good lighting in chemical storage areas.

For more information on tips and ideas to incorporate into your chemical storage areas and mix load facilities contact me any time at the button to the right.

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