IDA Policy on Aerial Containment
Over the past 2 years, IFCA has been communicating the position of the IL Dept of Agriculture regarding the containment requirements for aerial application. The Part 255 containment regulations require containment and load-out pads at a site if more than 300 gallons of pesticide is mixed, repackaged or transferred within a 30 day period. There is an exemption from this requirement for "temporary" loading sites for aerial application, but the issue today is the question, "what is temporary?" If a site is used year after year, for planned and scheduled applications, the IDA does not consider it temporary. The increased use of fungicides today as part of "normal" plant protection strategies vs. the use of these temporary sites in the past to treat for emergency pest infestations is where IDA seems to draw a distinction. So, with all this in mind, the IDA's enforcement policy this year is this: the IDA will continue outreach efforts with regard to the need for containment at aerial application loading sites where more than 300 gallons of pesticide is transferred. They hope to increase compliance inspections during the season depending upon complaints as well as staff availability. Many IFCA members and Illinois aerial applicators have made a stewardship investment in new aerial containment facilities during the past 2 years and this effort is appreciated. There is a brochure posted at the IFCA homepage explaining the licensing and containment requirements for aerial application.
On another note, as you communicate with aerial application companies, please make an effort to ask them to be extra aware of people who may be in the vicinity of an application. There was a spray drift incident last week where a lady walking her dog was exposed to insecticide. These types of incidents catch the attention of the media and the Peoria Journal Star has already run several stories raising the issue of pre-notification regarding aerial application. IFCA reiterates to the media that our industry is very safe and that there are actually very few misuse complaints reported to IDA compared to the high number of successful and safe applications, but it only takes a few publicized incidents to put our entire industry in a harsh spotlight. Please take extra care to have a safe and uneventful pesticide application season.