University of Illinois Extension
Facebook Youtube
Pesticide Safety Education Program

Lawn Care Containment Regulations

If you operate a lawn care company, please be advised that there are containment regulations designed to prevent environmental contamination from pesticides and/or fertilizers. Illinois law mandates that a containment area must be used for the loading of lawncare products for distribution to a customer. The purpose of the containment area is to intercept, retain, recover, and reuse pesticide spills, wash water, and rinse water from application equipment or other items used for the storage, handling, preparation for use, transport, or application of pesticides to turf areas. Any application or handling of fertilizers only, application to trees and shrubs only, land areas located within a public or private right-of-way, or land areas utilized for turf research or commercial turf production are exempt from these regulations.

Portable and non-portable containment areas can be permitted and installed, provided they are constructed of an impervious material that is compatible with the pesticides being handled/contained at the facility. Section 256.40 (Title 8 Illinois Administrative Code, Chapter 1) mandates the minimum containment area dimensions and capacities as well as the requirements and restrictions regarding sump, plumbing, and storage for the three general containment permit classes. Section 256.70 addresses cleaning of the containment area and how to manage and dispose of spills, wash water, rinse water, and any precipitation that accumulates in the containment area. In addition, this section mandates all application equipment that has not been washed must be parked in the containment area or otherwise protected from precipitation to prevent the release of pesticide/fertilizer residues into the environment. Section 256.90 outlines the need for a backflow preventer or a fixed proper air gap to protect water supplies.

A containment permit must be obtained for all existing containment areas. Permits are issued by the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDA; see contact information below) and must be renewed every 5 years. Before buying, constructing or modifying a containment area or pad, notify the IDA to ensure that you meet all requirements. As part of the permit process, applicants must provide a map and detailed plot plan of the structure or area as well as other supporting documentation necessary to meet the mandate and proposal. You may also need to provide documentation of compatibility, a written estimate of life expectancy for the containment structure, and the manufacturer's repair and maintenance directions.

The above information is based on 415 Illinois Compiled Statutes 65/5  and Illinois Administrative Code (Title 8, Chapter 1, Subchapter i, Section 256). For detailed information or to request a containment permit form, contact Jerry Kirbach with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Environmental Programs at 1-800-641-3934 (voice and TDD) or 217-785-2427.

For information about pesticide storage and containment facilities (tips and building designs), consider the following resources:

  1. "Designing Facilities for Pesticide and Fertilizer Containment" (MWPS-37; 1st Ed. 1991). This 116 page handbook emphasizes planning and designing pesticide and fertilizer containment facilities and provides engineering and planning information. Chapters discuss regulations; site selection; functional system design; pesticide and fertilizer storage; secondary containment; mixing/loading facilities and equipment; worker safety; concrete; remodeling facilities; emergency planning; and waste disposal. An appendix of regulatory agencies and officials in each state is included. Cost $15. Order by phone (800-562-3618) or on-line at: (click on the "Construction" link).

  2. "On-Farm Agrichemical Handling Facilities" (NRAES-78; 1995). This 22 page publication discusses important considerations to make when building or planning a pesticide storage facility. Topics covered include principal parts of the storage facility, storage environmental requirements, safety requirements, and storage alternatives. It looks at the components of a well-designed facility, including detailed descriptions for a storage room; mixing room; safety equipment, records, and locker room; and an area for equipment loading and rinsing. Later sections deal with building ventilation, humidity, and temperature; warning signs; fire safety; personal emergency equipment; security; and building site considerations. Cost $7.00 Order by phone (800-562-3618) or on-line at: (click on the "Construction" link).

  3. "Pesticide Storage and Mixing Building" (MWPS-74002). The building design is 2" x 4" stud-frame construction, insulated, and has bathroom/locker area, mixing area, with double door access for equipment. Download building plans for free at:

  4. "Pesticide Storage and Security" fact sheet (2001). University of Illinois Extension Pesticide Safety Education Program. Free download at:

Source: Bruce Paulsrud, University of Illinois Extension (1/30/03).