8 Pesticide Management
Pesticide use should be part of an overall pest management strategy that includes biological controls, cultural methods, pest monitoring, and other applicable practices. When a pesticide application is deemed necessary, its selection should be based on effectiveness, toxicity to non-target species, cost, site characteristics, and its solubility and persistence in the environment.
Storage and handling of pesticides in their concentrated form poses the highest potential risk to groundwater and surface water. For this reason, it is essential that facilities for storing and handling pesticides be properly sited, designed, constructed, and operated in accordance with federal and state regulations.
8.1 Regulatory Considerations
8.1.1 Federal Regulations
The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) is the federal law regulating the manufacture, distribution, sale, and use of pesticides. USEPA regulates pesticides under broad authority granted by FIFRA. The process of registering a pesticide includes scientific, legal, and administrative procedures to ensure the company meets all scientific and regulatory requirements, as described below. Only after the company applying for registration meets the scientific and regulatory requirements is a pesticide approved for distribution, sale, and use.
FIFRA and its implementing regulations govern what must be included on pesticide labels. Pesticide product labels provide critical information about how to safely and legally handle and apply pesticides. Unlike other types of product labels, pesticide labels are enforceable and must include the statement, “It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.” In other words, the pesticide label is the law.
All pesticide storage areas must meet federal minimum requirements set by USEPA:
- The storage area must be secured or locked to prevent unauthorized access.
- Pesticides must be stored in a separate building or, at a minimum, must be separated by a physical barrier from living and working areas and from food, feed, fertilizer, seed, and safety equipment.
- A warning sign must be placed on the exterior of the storage area.
- Pesticides must be stored in a dry, ventilated area.
- The pesticide storage area must be kept clean.
- A supply of absorbent material sufficient enough to absorb a spill equivalent to the capacity of the largest container in storage must be kept in the storage area.
- The storage area must contain only pesticide containers that are properly labeled and are free of leaks.
- The storage area must have an appropriate fire extinguisher available.
- Pesticides must be stored in an area located at least 50 feet from any water well or stored in secondary containment.
8.1.2 State Regulations
In Virginia, VDACS Office of Pesticide Services enforces the Virginia Pesticide Control Act regulations (2 VAC 5-670). Under these regulations, VDACS certifies applicators, registers pesticide products, and issues pesticide business licenses in order to permit the safe and effective control of pests. These regulations also cover all aspects of pesticide usage, such as storage and handling, disposal, application and equipment, service container labeling, disposal, etc.
Most occupational pesticide users, including turf managers and their employees, must be certified as either a Commercial Applicator or a Registered Technician. Legal obligations are described in the VDACS fact sheet Responsibilities of Commercial Pesticide Applicators and Registered Technicians in Virginia. In addition to complying with the pesticide regulations and certification requirements, pesticide applicators must adhere to requirements of a VPDES permit issued by DEQ that covers pesticide discharges to surface waters.
8.1.3 Local Regulations
Local Fire Marshalls enforce the State of Virginia’s Fire Prevention Code, which addresses the storage of hazardous materials, such as pesticides. Depending on the type and quantity of products stored, local ordinances may influence storage location or require fire department inspection. If not required, local emergency responders should be notified of the pesticide storage area location. Additionally, local governments regulate and dictate the required code and methods for backflow prevention. Backflow prevention requirements are discussed in more detail in the “Irrigation” chapter.
8.2 Human Health Risks
Pesticides belong to numerous chemical classes that vary greatly in their toxicity. Acute toxicity refers to a single exposure by mouth, skin, or inhalation, or repeated exposures over a short time. Chronic toxicity effects are associated with long-term exposure to lower levels of a toxic substance, such as ingestion in drinking water. Pesticide toxicity and level of exposure can be a risk to human health. This idea is expressed by the formula: Risk = Toxicity x Exposure. To manage toxicity, pesticide usage should be minimized as part of an IPM strategy, and the least toxic yet effective pesticide should be selected. Exposure can be limited through good work habits, engineering controls (when possible), and protective clothing, Therefore, risk can be held to an acceptably low level if the amount of exposure is kept low.
Pesticide labels provide information on personal protective equipment (PPE) and first-aid information specific to the product. Therefore, applicators should always read and follow the label before using a pesticide, in addition to following standard safety practices. Safety Data Sheets (SDS) provide important information on hazardous chemicals. In addition, exposure to pesticides can be mitigated by practicing good work habits and adopting modern pesticide mix/load equipment (e.g. closed loading) that reduce potential exposure. SDS for pesticides can be found in an online database of U.S. registered pesticide labels.
Potential routes of exposure to golfers include ones via shoes, clothing, and equipment. Pesticide labeling addresses re-entry restrictions, and any application should be allowed to thoroughly dry before play resumes.
More information on pesticide toxicity and exposure can be found in Chapter 1 of 2020 Pest Management Guide: Horticultural and Forest Crops, VCE.
8.3 Personal Protective Equipment
PPE protects workers from exposure through one or more pathways: skin, eyes, oral ingestion, or respiratory tract. Pesticide labels list legal requirements for minimum PPE, such as specific types of clothing, goggles, and respirators. The type of PPE needed depends both on the toxicity of the pesticide and the formulation. If a pesticide label does not have specific PPE requirements, the route of entry and other information on the label can be used to determine the type and degree of appropriate protection. To avoid contamination, PPE should not be stored in a pesticide storage area.
More information on PPE and laundering pesticide-contaminated clothing can be found in Chapter 1 of 2020 Pest Management Guide: Horticultural and Forest Crops, VCE.
8.4 Environmental Fate and Transport
Environmental characteristics of a pesticide can often be determined by the environmental hazards statement found on pesticide product labels. The environmental hazards statement (referred to as “Environmental Hazards” on the label and found under the general heading “Precautionary Statements”) advises the user of product specific concerns. Potential environmental impacts include toxicity to non-target organisms (such as pollinators) and contamination of surface water or groundwater. If endangered species are present on or near the course, labeling on applicable pesticide products directs users to the limitations found in the EPA’s Endangered Species Protection Bulletins.
The key to preventing pesticide impacts to water quality is an understanding of the physical and chemical characteristics that determine a pesticide’s interaction with the environment: solubility, adsorption, persistence, and volatilization. Pesticide characteristics influence the potential for runoff, leaching, or drift. Once applied, pesticides can move off-site in several ways: in water, in air, attached to soil particles, and on or in objects, plants, or animals.
To prevent pesticides from moving off-site, pesticide characteristics, site-specific characteristics, and prevailing conditions should all be evaluated. Pesticide characteristics, such as solubility, and site-specific characteristics, such as soil type, depth to the water table, geology, and proximity to surface water, should be considered before selecting and applying pesticides. Prevailing weather conditions, such as the chance of precipitation, the prevailing wind, and humidity, should be evaluated with respect to the timing of pesticide applications.
A detailed discussion of environmental fate and transport topics is available in Chapter 9 of the 1st edition of Environmental Best Management Practices for Virginia’s Golf Courses.
8.4.1 Leaching and Runoff
Most pesticide movement in water is either by surface movement off the treated site (runoff) or by downward movement through the soil (leaching). Runoff and leaching may occur when:
- Too much pesticide is applied or spilled onto a surface.
- Too much rainwater or irrigation water moves pesticide through the soil off-site or into groundwater.
- Highly water-soluble or persistent pesticides are used.
Pesticide movement in soil and water is affected by its water solubility, adsorption by soil, and persistence. Pesticides with greater adsorption by soil are less likely to be moved by leaching or surface runoff but can be carried to surface water with eroding soil. In addition to following the pesticide BMPs to reduce the likelihood of pesticides moving off-site in surface runoff, the use of buffer strips (as discussed in the “Water Management” chapter of this document) slow down runoff and allow pesticides to adhere to soil particles and plant tissue, preventing contamination of surface water.
Pesticides with less adsorption by soil are more likely to leach through the soil and reach groundwater. For example, if rainfall is high and soils are permeable, water that carries dissolved pesticides may take only a few days to percolate down to the groundwater.
Air movement causing pesticide transfer away from the application site is called drift. Pesticides may be carried off-site in the air as spray droplets, vapors, or even on blowing soil particles, as follows:
Spray drift: Airborne movement of pesticide particles to non-target sites during application.
Vapor drift: Volatilization of particles from plant and other surfaces during and after application and movement as a gas or vapor to a non-target site in sufficient concentrations to affect plant processes.
The potential for spray drift is strongly related to droplet size; smaller droplets have smaller mass and remain airborne and exposed to air movement longer than larger droplets. Equipment selection and operation characteristics, such as nozzle type, spray pressure, nozzle spray angle, and spray volume, impact the potential for spray drift. Weather-related considerations that can influence the potential for spray drift include wind speed, wind direction, air stability, relative humidity, and temperature.
The formulation of combination products as an amine or ester can also impact the potential for drift. Esters have higher vapor pressures than amines, but typically provide better weed control. In cooler weather, ester formulations can often be used safely. In higher temperatures, the risk of volatilization increases and calls for switching to an amine formulation if drift is a concern.
Vapor drift can sometimes be difficult to predict and depends on the factors such as the pesticide’s chemical characteristics and weather, even days after the application. Volatility increases as the pesticide’s vapor pressure increases and as air temperature and wind speed increase. Irrigating shortly after surface application of volatile pesticides reduces the potential for vapor drift.
8.4.3 Preventing Drift
Drift management additives can be added to the tank to help reduce the potential for drift. In addition, weather conditions at the time of application should be considered. Wind speeds of 3-10 mph are best for applying pesticides. More than 10 mph indicates an increasing potential for particle drift while less than 3 mph indicates stagnant air and the potential for temperature inversions. Temperature inversions can result in long-distance drift, which occur when lighter warm air rises upward into the atmosphere and heavier cooler air settles near the ground. Under these conditions, air does not mix, and spray droplets do not disperse and any subtle airflow can move this mass of pesticide spray droplets off-target. Temperature inversions typically start at dusk and break up around sunrise as air mixes vertically.
Drift management directions are typically an integral component of product labeling. Therefore, the pesticide label should be reviewed for specific information on drift reduction techniques or requirements. Weather-related instructions on the label must be followed as well.
For more information on preventing drift, see the University Nebraska-Lincoln Extension publication Spray Drift of Pesticides. Some specialty crops are especially sensitive to pesticides. Therefore, pesticide applicators can check the FieldWatch online mapping tools, which includes DriftWatch and BeeCheck that allow those with commercial specialty crops, organic crops, beehives, and other sensitive crops to report their field locations. All applicators applying pesticides outdoors are encouraged to sign up for free access to FieldCheck app and/or free email notices.
8.5 Water Quality
Water is the major component of pesticide spray solutions. Research indicates that the quality of the water can impact pesticide performance. Therefore, performing a water quality test can indicate whether or not water conditioners may be needed to maximize pesticide effectiveness. For example, water conditioners can be added to the spray solution or tank-mix to eliminate problems associated with water hardness. A pH buffer can be used to raise or lower the pH, depending on the desired range needed for optimum performance. Some pesticide formulations already contain water conditioners that make them compatible within a wide range of water conditions. Other products, however, perform better when adjuvants are added to overcome water quality issues. For more information, see the Purdue Extension publication The Impact of Water Quality on Pesticide Performance.
8.6 Pesticide Application Equipment and Calibration
Application equipment must apply the pesticide to the intended target at the proper rate. Information on the pesticide label specifies the legal application rate and sometimes suggests the appropriate equipment for use with the product.
8.6.1 Application Equipment Selection
For spray applications, the size of the equipment (tank size, boom width, etc.) should be matched to the scale of the facility. Nozzle selection and coverage, in particular, are important in the control of drift as well as product performance. The type of nozzle, nozzle orifice size, sprayer pressure, and the height or distance of the nozzles from the target affect the potential for off-site movement of pesticides. A nozzle that primarily produces coarse droplets is usually selected to minimize off-target drift. Boom covers can also be incorporated to minimize the potential for drift.
For more information on equipment selection to reduce drift, see the Spray Drift of Pesticides, UNL Extension.
8.6.2 Equipment Calibration
To apply liquid or granular pesticides at the proper rate, properly calibrated application equipment is essential. Such equipment mitigates environmental and human health concerns, reduces the chances of over- or under-applying pesticides, and optimizes pesticide efficacy. In addition, applicators must be especially careful to avoid exposure through inhalation when applying granular products. Equipment should also be checked frequently for leaks and malfunctions.
For more step-by-step instructions for calibrating boom sprayers, see Chapter 1 of 2020 Pest Management Guide: Horticultural and Forest Crops, VCE.
8.6.3 Emerging Technologies
The technological advancements of the 21st century will further enhance the golf turf manager’s abilities to deliver a high quality, healthy golf turf. The first generation of soil sensors monitoring moisture, temperature, and salt levels are already in use at many facilities, but their functionality is somewhat limited by data transmission capabilities and their size when placed in the soil. The expansion of 5G (fifth generation) wireless networks will provide for data collection and exchange capabilities that could only recently be imagined, and coupling this with “smart technology” utilizing artificial intelligence, remote sensing, global positioning radio navigation systems (GPS), and robotics, the opportunities for further refining golf turf management are seemingly endless.
Drones are regularly being used as a means of routine course inspections. Incorporating remote sensing devices will further refine opportunities for monitoring and managing plant stress. Robotic mowers are already making waves in golf turf management, offering mowing precision suitable for mowing putting greens. Unit costs are obviously significant for early generation technology. But with labor being one of the largest challenges in golf turf management, the ability for a crew to engage the robotic mowers and then complete other tasks is offering valid economic arguments for these units, and it is anticipated that prices will come down in the future.
The research program of Dr. David McCall and Jordan Booth, CGCS, at Virginia Tech has already demonstrated the potential environmental and economic benefits of using site specific disease management with a TORO 5800 Spray System equipped with Geo-Link GPS technology. After developing disease incidence maps utilizing drones to fly over the golf course fairways in the spring to assess the location and size of spring dead spot (SDS) areas, the sprayer combines the map data with the GPS technology to apply the fungicide the following fall only to the areas where the disease has previously occurred. (SDS is a monocyclic, recurrent soil-borne disease on bermudagrass that infects stems and roots in the fall.)
This treatment strategy has been demonstrated to provide comparable control to traditional blanket-spray approaches in SDS management and to reduce fungicide inputs by 50-65% compared with blanket-spraying. Thus, significant environmental and economic enhancements are gained and playing quality is improved/maintained with the site-specific control of this pest. McCall’s research program is expanding into other areas of remote sensing for turfgrass stress (moisture, pests, traffic/compaction etc.) in the utilization of sensors attached to drones and ground-driven recorders. None of these technological tools will eliminate the need for qualified golf turf management staff, but they will further increase the opportunities to improve turf performance and health while enhancing the efficacy of pesticides and/or reducing the amounts of chemical inputs required for a healthy turf.
8.7 Pesticide Record Keeping
Maintaining accurate records of pesticide-related activities (e.g. purchasing, storage, inventory, and applications) is essential and required by state law for all pesticides applied by certified professional applicators and private applicators.
Virginia regulations require Registered Technicians and Commercial Applicators to record all pesticide applications and maintain application records for two years. No specific form or format is required, but records must contain the information listed below:
- Name, address, and telephone number of the property owner, and address or location of the application site, if different.
- Name and certification number of the person making or supervising the application.
- Date of application (day, month, and year).
- Type of plants, crop, animals, or sites treated.
- The brand or product name of the federally restricted-use pesticide and the product’s EPA Registration number.
In addition to record keeping as required by Virginia regulation, additional information increases the effectiveness of pesticides usage as part of an IPM program, such as:
- Stage of development of the treated turfgrass or plant material.
- Life cycle stage of target pest.
- Severity of infestation.
- Beneficial species present.
- Site conditions, such as air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, rainfall (date and amount), and soil moisture level.
- Other pertinent environmental conditions, such as recent previous attempts to control, basis of selection for treatment(s), and results.
- Pesticide manufacturer, formulation, percent active ingredient, and EPA Establishment Number.
A sample record keeping form is also available found in Chapter 1 of 2020 Pest Management Guide: Horticultural and Forest Crops, VCE.
8.8 Pesticide Storage and Handling
Storage and handling of pesticides in their concentrated form poses the highest potential risk to groundwater or surface waters. For this reason, it is essential that care be taken in transporting pesticides and that the facilities for storing and handling these products be properly sited, designed, constructed, and operated.
Regulatory requirements (2 VAC 5-670-150) for pesticide storage and handling state the following:
No person shall handle, transport, store, display, or distribute pesticides in a manner that may endanger humans and the environment, or food, feed, or any other products that may be transported, stored, displayed, or distributed with the pesticides.
In addition to these general regulatory requirements, guidelines for storage of bulk pesticides include the following:
- Avoid the problem of storing pesticides by purchasing only the amount needed for the current season.
- Store pesticides in their original container with the original label attached. Read each label to determine suitable storing conditions.
- Do not store pesticides with food, feed, seed, planting stock, fertilizers, veterinary supplies, or pesticide safety equipment. Also, avoid storing them next to a water supply.
- Date containers as they are purchased and keep an inventory list so outdated material can be disposed of.
- Designate a building, room, or cabinet specifically for pesticide storage and nothing else. The optimum storage facility should have a concrete floor, which is impermeable and easy to wash; adequate ventilation to avoid extreme heat and to reduce the concentration of toxic or flammable vapors; insulation and supplemental heating if required to meet label specifications; good lighting; and access to water to handle accidental spills.
- Always keep the building, room or cabinet where pesticides are stored locked when the area is unattended.
- Post caution signs at all entrances or doors that warn the area is used for pesticide storage.
- Routinely examine pesticide containers for leaks, corrosion, breaks, and tears. Clean up spills immediately and properly dispose of containers and cleaning materials. Sawdust, industrial absorbent, cat litter, or dry soil may be used to soak up liquid spills. Sweeping compound can be used with dry spills. Keep cleaning materials in the storage area for quick access.
According to state law, it is a violation to transport pesticides in any manner that will endanger humans, animals, or the environment. Pesticide transport should follow these recommendations:
- Use a ratchet-type tie-down strap or chain binder to secure tanks to the vehicle. Make sure that the strap or chain/chain binder is of sufficient strength to secure the
- Inspect all plumbing and secure hoses and other equipment to avoid damage and potential
- Ensure that the transport vehicle is capable of transporting the weight of the container and
- When transporting small containers:
- Do not transport them inside the passenger
- It is suggested that small pesticide containers be placed within a leak-proof container such as a covered plastic
- Never leave pesticides unattended in an unlocked vehicle or an unsecured area where they can be tampered with or
- Secure pesticide containers in an area of the vehicle to avoid significant movement or breakage from movement of other items in the
- When transporting concentrates in containers other than the original container ensure that the container is labeled with the following:
- Product name (brand names from product label).
- EPA registration number (from product label).
- Name and percentage of active ingredient(s) from the product
- Appropriate signal word; i.e., Poison, Danger, Warning, Caution (from product label).
- When transporting tanks containing end-use dilutions exceeding 3 gallons ensure the tank is labeled with the following:
- Product name (brand names from product label).
- EPA registration number (from product label).
- Name and percentage of active ingredient(s) from the product
- Appropriate signal word; i.e., Poison, Danger, Warning, Caution (from product label).
8.10 Mixing/Washing Station
Procedures for mixing of pesticides and washing of pesticide application equipment should prevent the transport of pesticides or pesticide residues into surface waters, groundwater, or down drains. Loading and mixing of pesticides should be over an impermeable surface, such as a concrete pad. In addition, maintain at downslope distance of at least 150 feet from any well when mixing pesticides.
Some herbicide labels list a specific mixing sequence. In absence of specific directions, the recommended sequence for adding pesticide formulations to a tank partially filled with water follows the A.P.P.L.E.S. method:
- Powders soluble
- Powders dry
- Liquid flowables and suspensions
- Emulsifiable concentrates
Each ingredient must be uniformly mixed before adding the next component, e.g. a soluble powder must be completely dissolved before adding the next component. Adjuvants are added in the same sequence as pesticides, e.g. ammonium sulfate is a soluble powder, oil adjuvants are emulsifiable concentrates, and most surfactants are solutions. Within each group, the pesticide is usually added before the adjuvant, e.g., a soluble-powder pesticide before ammonium sulfate.
8.10.2 Cleaning Equipment
Cleaning pesticide equipment is a vital step in the process of applying pesticides. Each and every component of a sprayer system must be thoroughly cleaned. Following cleaning procedures, including those that may be found on the pesticide label, and developing rig- specific standard operating procedures ensures that future pesticide applications go as planned. General cleaning procedures for different types of application equipment can be found in the UNL Extension publication Cleaning Pesticide Application Equipment.
Rinsate can be used as a diluent for another batch of finished spray mix or applied to a labeled site following all label directions.
The safest way to dispose of leftover pesticide from professional applications is to use all of the chemical according to directions on the label. This includes the washwater from pesticide equipment washing, which must be used in accordance with the label instructions.
Unusable or unwanted pesticides can sometimes accumulate in the pesticide storage area. Simply keeping them in storage eventually becomes problematic when packaging inevitably deteriorates or corrodes and creates a hazard. Yet disposing of these stockpiles properly can be challenging. The best strategy for dealing with unwanted pesticides is to minimize or eliminate them by buying only enough pesticide for one season, calibrating equipment correctly, mixing only the amount of pesticide needed per application, and selecting pesticides that are easy to measure or ready to use. Disposal options for unwanted or unusable concentrate or product include:
- Legal use.
- Valid label disposal directions.
- Return to point-of-sale or manufacturer/registrant.
- Professional waste disposal firm.
- Local, state, or federal waste disposal program.
- Indefinite proper storage.
Rinsate can be used as a diluent for another batch of finished spray mix or applied to a labeled site following all label directions.
Pesticide container management can reduce leftover packaging. Minimizing container disposal efforts can be achieved by the following practices:
- Choosing low-rate products (which reduces container volume).
- Selecting products packaged in a manner that eliminates the need for container disposal (such as water-soluble packaging).
- Using returnable/refillable containers.
- Recycling or reconditioning containers.
- Choosing products packaged in containers that can be disposed of legally and conveniently.
Unused pesticides, pesticide containers, equipment washwater, and container rinsate should be disposed of properly. Virginia’s Pesticide Collection Program assists in the proper disposal of unwanted pesticides. The program is an effort by the VDACS OPS.
8.12 Pesticide Container Management
Handling of empty pesticide containers must be done in accordance with label directions as well as with all laws and regulations. Under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), a pesticide container is not empty until it has been properly rinsed. Non-refillable pesticide containers that have been properly rinsed can be handled and disposed of as non-hazardous solid waste; some plastic containers can be recycled. Refillable containers may be returned to the supplier unrinsed.
Proper procedures for cleaning pesticide containers, such as pressure rinsing and triple rinsing, and for storing empty containers must be followed.. Pesticide containers can be either recycled through participation in a container recycling program or disposed of by depositing them in a licensed sanitary landfill after pressure rinsing or triple rinsing. Ways to reduce the amount of waste that requires handling include identifying and implementing waste-reduction practices and purchasing bulk packaging when possible.
8.13 Emergency Preparedness and Spill Response
Pesticide leaks or spills, if contained, will not percolate down through the soil into groundwater or be carried away in runoff. All accidents or incidents involving pesticides that constitutes a threat to any person, to public health or safety, or to the environment must be reported to VDACS OPS within 48 hours of the accident or incident’s occurrence. Further guidance will be provided by the office as to further reporting procedures. Within ten days of initial notification a written report must be submitted that includes all of the required information.
Following an accidental release, spills should be controlled, contained, collected, and stored, as follows:
- Control actively spilling or leaking materials (for example, by setting the container upright, plugging leaks, or shutting the valve) using the appropriate PPE as indicated on the label.
- Contain the spilled material. Barriers and absorbent material should be used for liquids. For dusts, the material should be misted to avoid drift. Containment is usually not necessary for granules and pellets.
- Collect spilled material, absorbents, and leaking containers. These items should be placed in a secure and properly labeled container.
- Store the containers before applying as a pesticide or disposing of properly.
Small liquid spills may be cleaned up by using an absorbent such as cat litter or mulch, diluting with soil, and then applying the soil and absorbent as a pesticide in accordance with label instructions or disposing as a waste. Solid materials can be swept up and reused.
If spills are not contained, controlled, and cleaned up properly, they can harm human health, the environment, or both through leaching or runoff. In the case of an uncontained spill, call CHEMTREC at (800) 424–9300. CHEMTREC is a service of the Chemical Manufacturers Association and can provide emergency response information. DEQ should also be notified if water resources are impacted.
In addition to having a spill kit, emergency preparedness includes having appropriate and readily accessible PPE, SDS sheets on all pesticides used and stored onsite, and reporting notification information.
8.14 Pesticide Management Best Management Practices
Human Health Risks
- Follow the pesticide label for re-entry period requirements or recommendations following application.
- Allow all pesticide applications to dry thoroughly before allowing play to resume.
- Prioritize using lower risk products whenever possible.
Personal Protective Equipment
- Follow pesticide labels for appropriate PPE.
- Provide adequate PPE for all employees who work with pesticides, including equipment technicians who service pesticide application equipment.
- Ensure that PPE is sized appropriately for each person using it.
- Ensure that respirators are seal- and fit-tested properly and that the person is thoroughly trained and has no medical limitations to respirator use.
- Store PPE where it is easily accessible, but not in the pesticide storage area.
- Forbid employees who apply pesticides from wearing facility uniforms home by providing laundering facilities or a uniform service.
- Meet requirements for the OSHA 1910.134 Respiratory Protection Program.
- Consider pesticide characteristics in the chemical selection process.
- Identify any areas on the course prone to leaching losses (e.g. shallow water tables, sand-based putting greens, coarse-textured soils, etc.). Do not use highly soluble pesticides in these areas.
- Select low- or non-volatile pesticides.
- If listed species or species of concern are present, specifically select pesticides that have no known effects on these species.
- Check the forecast before applying pesticides and apply when conditions are favorable, such as minimal wind velocity, temperature inversions not forecast, rain not forecast, etc.
- Follow the pesticide label to avoid drift.
- Use spray additives (adjuvants, acidifiers, buffers, drift, retardants, compatibility agents, water conditioners, dyes, foamers, etc.) to improve the efficiency of pesticide applications and use within label guidelines.
- Schedule the timing and amount of irrigation needed to water-in products (unless otherwise indicated on label) without over-irrigating.
- If sites adjacent to the application area are planted with susceptible plants or crops, allow a buffer area between the two, or wait until winds are blowing away from the area of concern.
Pesticide Application Equipment
- Use an appropriately sized applicator for the size of area being treated.
- Ensure the spray technician is experienced, certified, and properly trained.
- Properly calibrate all application equipment at the beginning of each season (at a minimum) or after equipment modifications.
- Check equipment daily when in use.
- Use recommended spray volumes for the targeted pest to maximize efficacy.
- Calibration of walk-behind applicators should be conducted for each person making the application to take into consideration walking speed, etc.
- Avoid high spray boom pressures; consider 45 PSI a maximum for conventional broadcast ground spraying.
- Use drift-reduction nozzles that produce larger droplets when operated at low pressures.
- Use wide-angle nozzles and low boom heights and keep boom stable.
- When possible, use lower application speeds to avoid drift.
- Use spray additives within label guidelines to improve effectiveness of pesticide and reduce potential for drift.
- Use shielded booms. When banding, use shroud covers.
Pesticide Record Keeping
- Use electronic or hard-copy forms and software tools to properly track pesticide inventory.
- Keep and maintain records of all pesticides; records of restricted use pesticide applications are legally required to be kept for two years.
- Use records to monitor pest control efforts and to plan future management actions.
Pesticide Storage and Handling
- Routinely undergo a “risk assessment” to identify any potential risks to the applicator or environment.
- Do not transport pesticides in the passenger section of a vehicle.
- Never leave pesticides unattended during transport.
- Maintain an inventory of all pesticides used and the SDS for each chemical.
- Avoid purchasing large quantities of pesticides that require storage for more than six months.
- Adopt the “first in-first out” principle, using the oldest products first to ensure that the product shelf life does not expire.
- Locate pesticide storage facilities away from other structures to allow fire department access.
- Store, mix, and load pesticides away from sites that directly link to surface water or groundwater (e.g. wells).
- Store pesticides in a lockable concrete or metal building separate from other buildings.
- Shelving should be made of sturdy plastic or reinforced metal.
- Metal shelving should be kept painted to avoid corrosion. Wood shelving should never be used because it may absorb spilled pesticides.
- When storing pesticides on shelves, place liquid pesticides on lower shelves and dry formulations above them.
- Store herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides in separate areas within the storage unit.
- Storage facility floors should be impervious and sealed with a chemical-resistant paint.
- Floors should have a continuous sill to retain spilled materials and should not have drains, although a sump may be included.
- Sloped ramps should be provided at the entrance to allow the use of wheeled handcarts for moving material in and out of the storage area safely.
- Automatic exhaust fans and an emergency wash area should be provided. Light and fan switches should be located outside the building, so that both can be turned on before employees enter the building and turned off after they leave the building.
- Avoid temperature extremes inside the pesticide storage facility.
- Load and mix pesticides over an impermeable surface, such as a concrete pad.
- Mix pesticides at least 150 feet downslope from any well.
- Mix materials according to label directions and in amounts that will be used for the application to avoid excess that will need disposal.
- Either use anti-backflow devices when mixing pesticides or maintain a 6” air gap between mixing container and water source.
- Pump the sump dry and then clean it at the end of each day. Liquids and sediments should also be removed from the sump and the pad whenever pesticide materials are changed to an incompatible product (i.e. one that cannot be legally applied to the same site).
- Develop standard operating procedures for the washing and cleaning of different types of pesticide application equipment.
- Collect washwater (from both inside and outside the application equipment) and use as a pesticide in accordance with the label instructions.
- Apply rinsates as a pesticide (preferred) or stored for use for the next compatible application.
- Annually review pesticide inventories and properly dispose of unusable and unwanted pesticides.
Pesticide Container Management
- Rinse pesticide containers immediately in order to remove the most residue.
- Rinse containers during the mixing and loading process and add rinsate water to the finished spray mix.
- Rinse emptied pesticide containers by either triple rinsing or pressure rinsing.
- Use refillable pesticide containers only for pesticides.
- Recycle non-refillable containers when possible.
- Puncture empty and rinsed pesticide containers prior to disposal and dispose of them according to the label.
- Keep a written pesticide handling and discharge response plan as required that outlines the procedures to control, contain, and clean up spilled materials.
- Train all employees on the emergency response plan and emergency procedures.
- Provide a copy of the written handling and discharge response plan to local authorities.
- Keep an appropriate spill containment kit in a readily available space.
- For small liquid spills, use absorbents such as cat litter or sand and apply as a topdressing in accordance with the label rates, or dispose of as a waste.
- For small solid spills, sweep up and use as intended.
- Ensure that SDS documents are present and that all employees have been properly trained on their location and contents.
- Report releases as required.