Containment is primarily required when dealing with hazardous materials of any kind, but it’s often only discussed in terms of liquid management. Yet there are many more forms of fertilizer, in solid or powder form, that still require containment to avoid spills and risks to workers. Containment for non-liquid fertilizers differs in its requirements but still features many of the same elements. Even if your state doesn’t require the installation of secondary containment for dry fertilizer storage, you may be subject to federal regulations.
The Scale of Leaks
Due to the slower flow rates of granules and powders than liquids, spills and leaks of dry fertilizer tend to pose less of a risk. However, this is not always true when dry products are stored in large open piles in buildings and sheds. Collapses of these piles can cause even more damage than a leak from a smaller and better contained tank full of liquid. The scale of the product being stored in one area or container still matters for dry fertilizers as it does for liquid ones. If you don’t want to increase containment measures while using granule or powdered products, try splitting up how they’re stored and using smaller containers. This reduces the scale of any one leak, limiting how much secondary containment is necessary around each tank. Keep in mind that storage requirements for containment still apply to total amounts stored on the farm in most states and not just the largest single container.
While some very fine powders pour similarly enough to liquids to be measured by the gallon, most dry fertilizer products are measured by the pound instead. This can make it tricky for farmers and ranchers to determine what regulations apply to them when all measurements are stated in gallons alone. Check for separate bulk dry storage requirements to find measurements by the pound. For example, Illinois begins regulation of fertilizer storage of 5,000 gallons of liquid or 50,000 pounds of dry material. This is a clear way to determine when you’ll need secondary containment for dry fertilizer. If your state regulations aren’t delineated by measurements and only state volume, you’ll need to contact the Department of Agriculture to verify there’s no specific limit for dry storage. Don’t assume that you’re free from regulation just because it’s hard to find the regulations that apply to your preferred fertilizers.
Dry fertilizer can blow or wash away, even when it’s stored indoors in a way that seems secure. Containment should protect the surrounding area from both forms of loss since wind-blown fertilizer can easily irritate the eyes and lungs of both humans and animals on the farm. Dry fertilizer containment often includes consideration of walls and covers for this very reason. No matter what kind of fertilizer you’re storing, you can find liners and covers to contain it here at BTL Liners.