12 Maintenance Operations
As part of the golf industry’s responsibility to serve as an environmental steward, it is imperative that hazardous materials be handled, stored, recycled, and disposed in a safe, healthy, and sound manner. Pollution prevention includes the proper storage, handling, and disposal of chemicals, washwater, and wastewater. For example, washwater from pesticide application equipment must be managed as a pesticide. Conversely, wastewater not contaminated with harmful chemicals can be reused or discharged to a permitted stormwater treatment system. The Pesticide Management chapter discusses many maintenance operations-related BMPs specifically for pesticides. This chapter provides additional guidance for maintenance operations and points out differences between managing fertilizer equipment and pesticide equipment.
Facilities related to the storage and handling of pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals, especially in their concentrated form, pose the highest potential risk to water sources if accidentally released in quantity. Therefore, anyone storing, mixing, or loading potentially hazardous chemicals should treat all leaks, spills, and fires as emergencies and be prepared to respond to these emergencies promptly and correctly. For unintended releases of any chemicals, an emergency plan, spill kit, and first-aid kit should be readily available.
12.1 Regulatory Considerations
Pesticides and fertilizers used in the state must be registered with DDA. As discussed in the “Pesticide Management” chapter, the DDA regulates pesticides in Delaware under Title 3 Delaware Pesticide Rules and Regulations. Employees who handle pesticides must be trained in handling pesticides. Applicators must be certified. Local regulations may also be in place with respect to the siting of maintenance facilities.
DNREC’s Underground Storage Tanks Section implements the Underground Storage Tank (UST) program. All USTs over 110 gallons storing petroleum are required to be registered with the state and must pay an annual registration fee. All registered USTs have to comply with Delaware Regulations Governing Underground Storage Tank Systems Regulations. For more information on UST compliance, see the DNREC’s Compliance Assistance Manual.
DNREC compliance staff inspects UST systems every three years to verify that they are properly installed, inspected, tested, and maintained. The UST compliance program also requires that facilities demonstrate financial responsibility for taking corrective action caused by accidental releases from USTs. In addition, each UST facility must have a certified operator assigned to the site. More information on certification is available at the UST operator training webpage.
DNREC’s Tank Management Section implements the Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) program. All registered ASTs must comply with Delaware’s regulations governing Aboveground Storage Tanks. The AST program inspects AST systems to prevent releases to the environment by ensuring that AST systems are properly installed, inspected, tested, and maintained. Local regulatory authorities should be contacted as well before installing an AST.
DNREC’s Emergency Prevention and Response Section includes the Emergency Response Group. This program provides around the clock response to emergency and non-emergency statewide petroleum and hazardous substance incidents to protect human health, safety, and the environment. In case of an incident requiring a response, DNREC’s toll-free, 24-hour response line should be called at 1-800-662-8802.
12.2 Storage and Handling of Chemicals
A well-designed and well-maintained chemical storage facility protects people from exposure, reduces the chances of environmental contamination, prevents damage to chemicals from temperature extremes and excess moisture, safeguards chemicals, and reduces the likelihood of liability. Proper handling and storage of pesticides and petroleum-based products are important to reduce risk of serious injury or death of an operator or bystander. Fires or environmental contamination may result in large fines, cleanup costs, and civil lawsuits if these chemicals are not managed properly. Pesticide-specific requirements and BMPs are provided in the “Pesticide Management” chapter.
12.3 Equipment Washing
Proper cleaning of equipment helps prevent residues from reaching surface waters, groundwater, drainage pipes, or storm sewers. The residues from washing equipment include grass clippings, soil, soaps, oil, fertilizers, and pesticides. Therefore, equipment washing should be conducted under controlled conditions in an appropriate contained area with minimal risk to the environment and to prevent adverse washwater and stormwater runoff impacts. Equipment washing guidelines and restrictions should be established that reduce the potential for pollutants to reach stormwater runoff, surface water or groundwater.
For equipment other than any with potential pesticide residue, the primary concerns related to washwater are the nutrients (N and P) associated with the clippings. To reduce the amount of organic debris in washwater, grass clippings should be blown off equipment with compressed air or backpack blower, instead of, or prior to, washing with water (Figure 29). The best practice is to have a dedicated wash area with a catch basin to collect remaining grass clippings (Figure 30). Clippings can be collected and then composted or removed to a designated debris area (Figure 31). When formal washing areas are not available, a “dog leash” system using a short, portable hose to wash off the grass at random locations may be an option. However, these locations should not be near surface waters, wells, or storm drains.
For equipment with possible pesticide residue, BMPs should be followed to ensure that washwater does not become a pollution source. Captured washwater can be used as a dilute pesticide per label, or it may be pumped into a rinsate storage tank for use in the next application and used as a dilute pesticide per the label. See the “Pesticide Management” chapter for more information.
12.4 Equipment Storage and Maintenance
Like chemical storage facilities, equipment storage and maintenance facilities should be designed to prevent the accidental discharge of chemicals, fuels, or contaminated washwater from reaching water sources. Properly storing and maintaining equipment also extends the useful life of machines and reduce repairs.
12.5 Fueling Facilities
Fueling areas should be properly sited, designed, constructed, and maintained to prevent petroleum products from being released into the environment through spills or leaks. Regulations and compliance issues differ depending on whether facilities use ASTs or USTs. Aboveground tanks are easier to monitor for leaks and are therefore the preferred storage method. Because of the potential for groundwater contamination from leaking USTs, leak detection monitoring is a critical aspect of UST compliance (Figure 32). For further information on compliance, see DNREC’s Compliance Assistance Manual. Any leaks or spills must be contained and cleaned immediately. If any potential for petroleum contamination occurs from either an AST or UST, DNREC’s toll-free, 24-hour response line should be called at 1-800-662-8802. DNREC also oversees cleanup of above ground and underground storage tank sites.
Fueling areas should be sited on impervious surfaces, equipped with spill containment and recovery facilities, and located away from surface waters and water wells (Figure 33). Catch basins in fueling areas should be directed toward an oil/water separator or sump to prevent petroleum from moving outside any containment structure. Floor drains in fueling areas should be eliminated unless they drain to containment pits or storage tanks.
12.6 Waste Handling
Facilities need to regularly review how they handle the disposal of unwanted, expired, or accumulated items, including chemicals, paints, pesticides, tires, batteries, used oils, solvents, paper products, plastic or glass containers, and aluminum cans. Developing recycling programs reduces waste and minimizes the quantity of waste reaching landfills; for example, steel and cardboard can be easily recycled (Figure 34). In some cases, recycling of some wastes may be required locally. Superintendents should be aware of these requirements.
All packaging from chemicals, their containers and other wastes should be properly disposed of. Pesticide-specific waste handling requirements are identified on the pesticide label and are discussed in more detail in the “Pesticide Management” chapter.
12.7 Emergency Preparedness and Spill Response
Enough absorbent material must be available to handle a spill of the largest container in storage. Sorbent materials include booms, socks or mini booms, pillows, pads and rolls, and loose sorbents. These sorbent materials may be universal or more specific (such as for petroleum products). A spill kit is a necessity at any facility where pesticides and other chemicals are used or stored.
In Delaware, DNREC’s Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances responds to and investigates accidents/incidents related to environmental spills and other emergencies, and oversees cleanup to protect human health, safety and the environment. DNREC should be contacted immediately if any release is not contained and controlled (1-800-662-8802 or 302-739-9401). Local officials should need to be notified as well. If the spill constitutes a reportable quantity, the EPA’s National Response Center (800-424-8802) must also be notified. All contact information and reporting requirements should be identified in the emergency plan.
For more information on emergency planning and response to unintended releases see:
- Chapter 9 “Emergency Planning.” Maryland Pesticide Applicator Core Manual, pp. 137-147.
- Pesticide Information Leaflet No. 16: Handling Pesticide Spills. 2013. University of Maryland.
Host a tour for local emergency response teams (e.g. firefighters) to show them the facility and to discuss the emergency response plan. Seek advice on ways to improve the plan.
12.8 Maintenance Operations Best Management Practices
Storage and Handling of Chemicals Best Management Practices
- Post warning signs on chemical storage buildings, and especially near any entry or exit areas.
- Storage facilities must be secured and allow only authorized staff to have access.
- Pesticide and fertilizer storage areas should preferably be located away from other buildings.
- Floors should be sealed with chemical-resistant paint.
- Floors should have a continuous sill to help contain any spills.
- Install a fire suppression system or equipment.
- Shelves should be made of plastic or reinforced metal. Metal shelving should be coated with paint to avoid corrosion. Wood should not be used due to its ability to absorb spilled chemicals.
- Exhaust fans and an emergency wash station should be provided.
- Light and fan switches should be installed to illuminate and ventilate the building.
- Store chemicals in original containers.
- Store chemicals so that the label is clearly visible. Loose labels should be refastened.
- Store flammable chemicals separately from non-flammable chemicals.
- Store liquid materials below dry materials to prevent contamination from a leak.
- Use regulatory agency-approved, licensed contractors for the disposal of chemicals.
- Provide adequate staff training pertaining to the risks and liabilities of chemical storage and use.
- Train staff how to access and use the facility’s SDS database.
- Maintain accurate inventory lists.
Equipment Washing Best Management Practices
- Brush or blow off accumulated grass clippings from equipment using compressed air or backpack blower before washing.
- Wash equipment on a concrete pad or asphalt pad that collects the water. After the collected material dries, collect and dispose of it properly.
- Washing areas for equipment not contaminated with pesticide residues should drain into oil/water separators before draining into sanitary sewers or holding tanks.
- Do not wash equipment used to apply pesticides on pads with oil/water separators. Do not wash near wells, surface water, or storm drains.
- Use spring-loaded spray nozzles to reduce water usage during washing.
- Minimize the use of detergents. Use only biodegradable, non-phosphate detergents.
- Use non-containment washwater for field irrigation.
- Do not discharge non-contaminated wastewater during or immediately after a rainstorm, since the added flow may exceed the permitted storage volume of the stormwater system.
- Do not discharge washwater to surface water, groundwater, or susceptible/leachable soils either directly or indirectly through ditches, storm drains, or canals.
- Never discharge to a sanitary sewer system without written approval from the appropriate entity.
- Never discharge to a septic tank.
- Do not wash equipment on a pesticide mixing and loading pad. This keeps grass clippings and other debris from becoming contaminated with pesticides.
- Solvents and degreasers should be used over a collection basin or pad that collects all used material.
Equipment Storage and Maintenance Best Management Practices
- Store equipment in areas protected from rainfall. Rain can wash residues from equipment and potentially contaminate the surrounding soil or water.
- Perform equipment maintenance activities in a completely covered area with sealed impervious surfaces.
- Drains should either be sealed or connected to sanitary sewer systems with the approval of local wastewater treatment plants.
- Solvents and degreasers should be stored in locked metal cabinets away from any sources of open flame.
- Complete a chemical inventory and keep SDS of each on-site. A duplicate set of SDS should be kept in locations away from the chemicals, but easily reached in an emergency.
- Use PPE when working with solvents.
- Use containers with dates and contents clearly marked when collecting used solvents and degreasers.
Fueling Facilities Best Management Practices
- Aboveground fuel tanks are preferred as they are more easily monitored for leaks as compared with underground tanks.
- Fueling stations should be located under roofed areas with concrete pavement whenever possible.
- Fueling areas should also have spill containment and recovery facilities located near the stations.
- Develop a record-keeping process to monitor and detect leakage in USTs and ASTs.
- Visually inspect any AST for leakage and structural integrity.
- Secure the fuel storage facilities and allow access only to authorized and properly trained staff.
- Ensure that fuel tanks and pumps are properly labeled.
- Post no smoking signs near fueling facilities.
Waste Handling Best Management Practices
- Label containers for collecting used solvents, oils, and degreasers.
- Recycle lead-acid batteries. If not recycled, batteries are classified as hazardous waste.
- Store old batteries on impervious surfaces in areas protected from rainfall.
- Recycle used tires, paper products, cardboard, plastic or glass containers, steel, aluminum cans, and used solvents, oils, and degreasers.
- Provide a secure and specifically designated storage for the collection of recyclable waste products.
- Recycle or properly dispose of light bulbs and fluorescent tubes.
- Complete annual Tier II reporting requirement and file with the Delaware’s State Emergency Response System.
Emergency Preparedness and Spill Response Best Management Practices
- Develop a golf course facility emergency response plan that includes procedures to control, contain, collect, and store spilled materials.
- Prominently post “Important Telephone Numbers,” including the hotline number for DNREC (1-800-662-8802) for emergency information on hazards or actions to take in the event of a spill.
- Ensure an adequately sized spill containment kit is readily available.
- Designate a spokesperson who will speak on behalf of the facility should an emergency occur.