Ways to Avoid Pesticide Spills

Factsheet - ISSN 1198-712X   -   Copyright King's Printer for Ontario
Agdex#: 730/607
Publication Date: 1996
Order#: 96-025
Last Reviewed: 1996
History: Original Factsheet
Written by: Helmut Spieser - Engineer, Pesticide Application & Grain Storage/OMAFRA

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Transport and Storage
  3. Mixing, Loading and Application
  4. Ten Steps to Cleaning Up a Pesticide Spill
  5. Spills Action Centre
  6. Emergency Phone Numbers


Pesticide spills can be difficult and costly to clean, but most spills can be prevented with proper transportation, storage and handling. All farmers should have a written contingency plan outlining steps to take in the event of a spill, and a 'spill kit' on hand that is ready for use. You should also speak with your insurance agents about pollution liability insurance, and consult pesticide labels and the manufacturers' Material Safety Data Sheets. This factsheet is available at your local OMAFRA office on a laminated sheet to allow you to hang it where your pesticides are handled and stored. You can find out more by enrolling in a Grower Pesticide Safety Course.

Transport and Storage

  • Secure pesticide containers in transit.
  • Modify driving style to cargo and road conditions.
  • Heed requirements of Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act.
  • Have a well-organized storage facility.
  • Allow easy access to materials.
  • Have suitable shelving, lighting and ventilation.
  • Keep a list of pesticides stored on farm in two or more separate locations, such as the office or barn.

Mixing, Loading and Application

  • Consider containment pad for mixing and loading
  • Contain and manage any spillage.
  • Prevent back siphoning into water source when filling sprayer by using an anti-backflow device.
  • Do not leave sprayer unattended when filling.
  • Have a good loading platform on or beside sprayer.
  • Check for leaks, sound hoses, and faulty valves.
  • Protect your sprayer and keep it in proper condition.

Ten Steps To Cleaning Up A Pesticide Spill

Asses the situation immediately. The owner of the pesticide, or the person who had control of it immediately before the spill, is responsible for the spill, even if he/she is not at fault.

  1. Protect yourself against pesticide contamination.
  2. Isolate the area and keep people and animals away.
  3. Remove contaminated clothing. Thoroughly wash skin with soap and water. Read product label for treatment. Get medical attention.
  4. Eliminate the source of the spill if possible
  5. Call your Ministry of Environment and Energy (MOEE) office or the 24 hours Spills Action Centre at 1-800-268-6060.
  6. Contain the spread of the pesticide to prevent further contamination of the environment.
  7. Clean up spill as advised by MOEE or the Spills Action Centre.
  8. Decontaminate the areas as advised by the MOEE, Spills Action Centre, or as directed by Material Safety Data Sheets. Decontaminate all equipment used in the cleanup using the same procedure.
  9. Dispose of contaminated material as designated by MOEE.
  10. Re-evaluate your pesticide handling procedures and your spill contingency plan. Restock your spill kit.

Spills Action Centre

Questions you will be asked by the Spills Action Centre or you local MOE office.

  • What material was spilled?
  • How much was spilled?
  • What was the source of the spill? (Tanker truck, sprayer, product container)
  • What was the concentration of the spilled material?
  • Is the spill contained?
  • Has the spill entered any watercourses?

What you will learn from the Spills Action Centre

  • Best ways to clean up the spill.
  • Decontamination procedures.
  • Proper disposal of the contaminated material(s).

Emergency Phone Numbers

Please Print a Copy and Fill in Your Local Phone Numbers

Location of Spill Contingency Plan: _________________________________

Family Doctor: _______________________________

Ministry of Environment: _______________________

Spills Action Centre: 1-800-268-6060

Poison Control Centres:

  • 1-800-268-9017 (Toronto)
  • 1-800-267-1373 (Ottawa)
  • TTY: 1-416-597-0215

Ontario Hydro: ______________________________

Ambulance: ________________________________

Municipality: _______________________________

Police: ____________________________________

Hospital: __________________________________

Fire Department: ____________________________

Insurance Agent: ____________________________

Gas/Oil Company: ___________________________

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca