The Agrichemical Containment program requires the use of approved containment structures to help prevent spills of pesticides and fertilizers from contaminating soil and groundwater. Fertilizers and pesticides stored in bulk quantities at agricultural chemical storage facilities must comply with agency bulk storage rules, ch. ATCP 33 Wis. Adm. Code. Generally, these rules apply to bulk storage of fertilizers and pesticides where the products are being stored for distribution. The term “bulk” refers to more than 55 gallons of liquid or 100 pounds of dry fertilizer or pesticide. An example where the bulk storage rules do not apply is when bulk product is stored on a farm for the owner’s end use and the farmer does not engage in further distribution of those products.
Chart 1 summarizes inspections completed by DATCP’s containment program over the last five years. The containment program has emphasized inspections at bulk facilities over the last several years, but the program also oversees the compliance for mixing and loading of non-bulk pesticides under ch. ATCP 29. In 2013, we plan on inspecting all 55 known non-bulk pesticide mixing and loading sites in the state.
As noted in the highlights box, during 2012, staff conducted 112 inspections and 13 containment investigations. Containment investigations are performed when DATCP receives information that a person required to comply with the bulk rules is operating without having secondary containment or a mix/load pad, or DATCP staff observes out-of-containment bulk storage, or if construction of facility structures was performed without plans or without meeting plan specifications. Staff also issued 7 warnings and reviewed 65 engineering plans for 23 different projects.
To help ensure construction was being performed in compliance with project plans, DATCP conducted a pilot project in which engineering staff from the Bureau of Land and Water Resources Management (LWRM) assisted the Bureau of Agrichemical Management in spot-checking construction of new containment structures (for which plans were submitted and reviewed). Six construction projects were originally planned as part of the pilot. LWRM engineers and supervisors performed in-field construction oversight at 11 new construction projects. Our observations were that the management of the under-construction facilities and their contractors greatly appreciated the guidance and efforts of the attending LWRM field engineers. It is worth adding that construction oversight often required more than one visit and a significant time commitment on the part of multiple LWRM engineering staff. With just one containment engineer in the ACM Bureau, these inspections could not have occurred were it not for the inter-bureau collaboration.
In 2012, nine of the 49 facilities where sumps were inspected had sumps that were found to be leaking. These sump test failures require the facility to perform environmental investigations to determine any possible soil and groundwater impacts due to the leaking sump. All of these leaking sumps were constructed prior to the revised rule requiring plan submittal according to the minimum design standards. DATCP also tested several sumps at facilities that submitted design plans according to the revised rules and minimum design standards and has not found any of these new sumps to be leaking.
Direction for the Coming Year
Based on the number of new construction projects reviewed in 2012, DATCP anticipates that there will be year-long demand for design plan reviews in the coming year. We intend to continue utilizing LWRM engineers to perform new construction spot checks in 2013.
DATCP will also continue emphasizing sump test inspections (assessing if mixing and loading pad sumps are liquid tight and not leaking contaminants) in 2013. Although short and full bulk inspections are useful visual assessments of a facility’s compliance with storage rules, sump test inspections are a direct method of assessing the potential for environmental contamination and compliance with secondary containment requirements.
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