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50 Ways Farmers Can Protect Their Groundwater
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35. Construct A Rinse Pad

advantages of a rinse pad

The most obvious reason for installing a rinse pad is to prevent pesticides from leaching through the soil, into the groundwater, or moving downslope, toward surface water. But that is not the only reason. Here are a few more:

  • A rinse pad allows you to capture and recycle rinse water.
  • Some insurance companies do not cover the cost of cleaning up a chemical spill, unless it is specifically mentioned in the policy.
  • A rinse pad could prevent costly spills and penalties and reduce legal liability.
  • Also, some dealers will not deliver bulk fertilizer or chemicals unless you have a rinse pad.
rinse pad diagram

There are many ways to design a rinse pad, but the best of them follow common guidelines:

  • Locate the pad away from surface water and wells.
  • If possible, do not locate the pad in an area where mixing and loading has been done in the past. Constructing a pad in such an area might seal soil that is contaminated.
  • Locate pumps and piping aboveground and within the rinse-pad area.
rinse pad diagram
  • Construct the pad from watertight concrete.
  • Make sure the pad is large enough to hold your largest application vehicle.
  • Design the pad to slope to the center—to floor drains leading to sumps. Sumps collect spills and rinse water, and they transfer liquid to aboveground tanks.
  • Make sure there is a level area for storage tanks at the back of the pad.
rinse pad and rinsate tank
  • Store the various rinsates of incompatible chemicals in separate containers.
  • Label rinsate storage tanks carefully so you don't mix incompatible chemicals.
  • Be sure rinsate tanks are small enough to encourage the rapid reuse of rinsate material.
  • Mount rinsate tanks at least 3 to 5 inches above the concrete floor. This helps you to spot leaks.
a low, concrete dike around the storage tanks
  • Install a low, concrete dike around the storage tanks. Dikes should be big enough to contain an amount that is at least 10 percent greater than the volume held by the largest rinse-water tank. That way, the dike will be able to contain a serious leak.
weatherproof shed
  • Keep undiluted fertilizers in a different containment area than undiluted pesticides. Each area should have a separate sump as well. You can divide fertilizers from pesticides with a concrete subdividing wall.
  • For security and safety, enclose the undiluted chemicals with a fence and locked gate. If chemicals need to be protected from weather, keep them in a weatherproof shed.
storage shed and rinse pad Check with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, or local Extension office to find out about state requirements.
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