Hi N Dri spill bonding agent can be used to absorb a liquid spill.
Hi N Dri spill bonding agent can be used to absorb a liquid spill.

Few things are scarier than a pesticide spill. Thoughts run quickly through the mind of everything that could go wrong, from health problems to environmental contamination.

If a major spill occurs, as defined by the reportable quantity (RQ), found on the Safety Data Sheet, contact IEMA, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (1-800-782-7860). Not all products have the same RQ. That's why it's important to always have the SDS for every product you use.

When a spill occurs, think of the 3 C's: Control, Contain, Cleanup.

The first step is to control the spill, or stop it. If the container is leaking, place it in a larger container. For example, if a gallon jug is leaking, place the container in a five-gallon bucket. Even setting the container or small sprayer in a child's swimming pool will stop leaks from spreading.

If a larger container is leaking, try to plug up the leak with clumping kitty litter patted on the area, or use a bentonite/polymer compound, spray insulation foams, Hi 'N Dri™ bonding agents, or other products available from pesticide application stores, such as Gempler's, QC Supply, EnviroMet, Mantek, and more.

Of course, none of the materials will help if you don't have them on hand. Most are inexpensive, so it pays to keep them within your facility or vehicles.

The next C is contain. You need to make sure the spill or leak doesn't spread. Cotton batting, kitty litter, absorbent pads, absorbent tube socks, or containment snakes are also supplies to have on hand if the spill is on a flat, smooth surface such as the floor of a shed or garage. Even materials such as the water-absorbing granules used by florists or in diapers will absorb liquids.

Scooping (hard clumping) cat litter moistened with water is used to plug a crack in a drum.

Scooping (hard clumping) cat litter moistened with water is used to plug a crack in a drum.

If a leak occurs in the field or yard, you need a shovel to create dikes and/or dams so the pesticide doesn't spread beyond that area.

The main goal with containment is to prevent the pesticide from moving, particularly into sewers, drains, streams, rivers, or other water sources.

The last C is cleanup, moving the absorbent material to heavy-duty containers for disposal. Heavy-duty garbage bags or steel drums lined with heavy duty plastic are recommended, though labeled or SDS (Safety Data Sheet) instructions will always take precedent.

Use a heavy-duty shovel or broom and a dustpan to sweep up dried materials. Afterwards, wash down the area if indoors with strong detergent, and use absorbent material to soak up the wash water, disposing of it in plastic containers.

In fields, about the only thing to do is to remove the topsoil. This may involve specialized companies, and you definitely need to contact the IEMA.

Of course, throughout all these operations you need to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) including chemical-resistant clothing, boots, goggles and gloves. Disposable PPE is recommended.

Having a spill kit in your facility is not only practical but also easy to assemble. Kits should contain:

• Chemical-resistant gloves

• Chemical-resistant coverall

• Chemical-resistant boots

• Chemical splash goggles

• Respirator if working in a confined space or specified by the pesticide label

• Heavy-duty plastic or hazardous material storage/garbage bags

• Absorbent pads for water- or solvent-based chemicals

• Absorbent tube sock (containment snake)

• Bentonite/polymer mix paste for plugging leaking containers

• Floor absorbent granules

• Shovel, broom, and dust pan

• Heavy-duty detergent, sponges, brushes

• Warning signs to keep staff out while the spill is being cleaned-up