Every treated area needs a buffer zone to exclude non-handlers for at least 48 hours after treatment. Buffer zone requirements range from 25 feet to ½ mile, depending on field size and application rate, method and equipment. You need to check the table included on the product label to determine the buffer distance for each application.
Buffer zones cannot exceed ½ mile. To reduce the size of the buffer zone, you may:
- Use practices to reduce emissions, such as using high-barrier tarps, receiving "credits" that reduce the zone
- Change the factors that determine the size of the buffer zone
- Break the treated area into smaller blocks
- Use a lower application rate
- Use a different active ingredient
If the required buffer zone is more than ½ mile even after taking these steps, the application is prohibited.
If the buffer zone extends into property owned by someone else, the treatment block owner must be sure it does not overlap areas also being used as a buffer by that neighboring property owner. You must also get written agreement from that property owner that no one will enter the buffer zone until the buffer period has ended.
Unless certain label requirements are met, buffer zones cannot:
- Overlap with each other
- Include storage buildings under the control of treatment block owner
- Include areas that people may occupy, such as homes, schools, and businesses
- Include agricultural areas owned or operated by anyone other than the treatment block owner
- Include roadways and rights-of-way.
- Include other publicly owned and/or operated areas
There are addition signage requirements for buffer zones, beyond those for the treated area itself. If there is no physical barrier that prevents access to the buffer zone, you must post signs at all entry points and likely approach routes. You must:
- Post signs 24 hours or less before application
- Keep them posted until the buffer zone period ends
- Remove them within 3 days after application