July 24, 2000 | By: Laura Skillman

Facilities designed for the safe storage of chemicals are being built on farms throughout Kentucky. Some larger facilities are also being constructed by the state to provide a safe place for chemical storage.

A recent field day highlighted some of the farm storage facilities in Marshall and Calloway counties and a new state-owned facility near Benton has been completed.The Marshall County facility is owned and operated by the state agriculture department and will serve as a temporary storage facility for pesticides collected from the Farm Chemical Collection Program.

It will also be used as the site of the pesticide container recycling program and the mini-bulk recycling program. The facility will also serve as a warehouse for Department of Agriculture supplies. It may also be used in the future as a site for amnesty days to collect old, unwanted and unusable pesticides.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Billy Ray Smith said the facility was sorely needed in western Kentucky.

"This new building will safeguard the environment while letting us serve the needs of the agricultural community," he said.

Sam McNeill, an agricultural engineer with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service at Princeton, was one the of chief engineers in designing the Environmental Resource Center in Marshall County.

UK was involved in the planning stages of the Marshall County facility, he said. McNeill worked with TVA agricultural engineer Mike Broder, who designed the concrete slab and NRCS agricultural engineer David Neeley, who supplied the building specifications.

"My part was helping facilitate the design and carrying it through to a form that could go out on bid," he said.

McNeill's biggest contribution was the lighting and ventilation requirements. It is not a massive amount of ventilation, but it is a critical part of the building's performance. The system flushes clean air into the building before anyone has to work inside.

In addition to this facility, more and more farmers are building smaller versions for temporary chemical storage on their farms.

The facilities contain an impermeable surface, which is sloped to a sump area where any spill can be contained in the building and won't run out into a stream or contaminate the soil. Having one certainly shows good stewardship, McNeill said.

Farmers can receive financial assistance through state cost share programs administered by conservation districts to construct the facilities.


Doug Thomas, (502) 564-4696 Sam McNeill, (270) 365-7541