HELENA, Mont. — Agricultural producers in low-lying areas should take precautions to prevent contamination from and exposure to farm chemicals and fertilizers as flood waters rise in several parts of Montana.
Removing all pesticides and chemicals from flood-prone areas is the best precaution, and one that is not always considered by producers in geographical areas that flood infrequently, says Ron de Yong, director of the Montana Department of Agriculture.
Department and Montana State University Extension educators issued a flood preparation alert in the Glasgow area several weeks ago. Some of the advice also applies to homeowners.
--Be extra cautious with water-permeable containers such as paper bags, cardboard boxes and fiber drums. These products should be stored on metal shelves in locations away from potential flooding.
--Application equipment with tanks including sprayers and anhydrous ammonia nurse tanks can be damaged by movement during flooding, causing a risk of leaks and contamination. These should be moved to higher ground.
--Keep stored products at a minimum by purchasing supplies as you need them and disposing properly of outdated products that could pose hazards. Information about the department's disposal program can be found at: www.agr.mt.gov/pestfert/disposal.asp.
--If flooding has occurred, use caution when entering storage areas. Wear protective clothing including boots to avoid exposure.
Prevention is the best defense against exposure and contamination. Choose a safe location, design pesticide storage carefully and develop an emergency response plan in case of a leak, says Leonard Berry, pesticide program manager at the department.
If a release of chemicals has occurred, contact the Montana Department of Agriculture at (406) 444-5400 or contact a department Technical Services Bureau field office in your area. A list of contacts is found at: agr.mt.gov/dept/staff.asp.
Montana Department of Agriculture
605 2nd Ave S, Room 204A
Glasgow, MT 59230
Phone: (406) 228-9512
Fax: (406) 228-9590
Published: April 16, 2011 4:27:00 PM MDT.
Last Modified: September 15, 2011 11:21:49 AM MDT