Pesticide Spill Prevention

Preparation makes the difference in proper pesticide use and storage. Avoiding leaks and spills is the goal, but we recognize that they can occur. Dealers should have a plan of action to handle broken containers and spilled pesticides. Problems, even small ones such as torn bags, should be cleaned up immediately.

Spill Prevention Tips

  • Be a good housekeeper. Check regularly for spills or potential spills.
  • Know state and federal regulations.
  • Teach employees proper handling and care around pesticides.
  • Emphasize the value of prompt spill cleanup, trash pickup and good housekeeping.
  • Conduct training in regulations and cleanup procedures.

Spill kit
You should keep several items on hand to deal with a potential spill. These include:

  • proper clothing and protective equipment for the products you handle;
  • a supply of neutral absorbing materials which may include activated charcoal, clay or vermiculite;
  • clean water;
  • Class B fire extinguisher for chemical fires;
  • detergent for deactivation of spill site;
  • salvage drum for waste cleanup; and
  • cleanup tools such as brooms, shovels and dust pans.

All items should be Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or Department of Transportation (DOT) approved.

Disposing of the Material
A torn bag may be repaired with tape provided certain restrictions are followed. The product content of the bag must be consistent with the weight printed on the bag. The tape cannot obscure any of the label.

The spilled material may be used on site if applied according to label instructions. If you are unable to use the spilled pesticide on site, it may become hazardous waste that is regulated under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). For information on RCRA compliance, contact the Small Business Assistance Program of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

Report the Spill
Who you call will depend on the hazard level of the product spilled, the nature of the spill and state regulations. Part of your preparation should be to know the cleanup procedure and reporting sequence for each product you sell. As a general rule, call the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

When you notify authorities of an emergency, have the following information:

  • the name and phone number of the contact person at the dealership or facility where the spill occurred;
  • the location of the spill and if water is threatened;
  • the name of the chemical spilled;
  • if the product is known to be acutely toxic;
  • the estimated quantity spilled;
  • the extent of injuries or exposure;
  • the cause of the spill;
  • action taken to control and contain the spill;
  • planned cleanup procedures, evacuation and other precautions;
  • when the spill occurred.
Other Important Phone Numbers
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) at 1-800-832-8224 or (512) 239-2507.

TCEQ Small Business Assistance Program 1-800-447-2827.

Texas State Poison Center 1-800-764-7661 (1-800-POISON1)

National Pesticide Information Center