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Pollution Prevention Model Site Demonstration: Herbi-Systems, Inc.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Plant Industries and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Environmental Research Center initiated a model pollution prevention program for agricultural industries in 1994. The program’s objective is to introduce to the industry technologies and practices that promote surface and groundwater protection, with expectations that regulations may govern the industry in the future. Major program components include demonstration of cost effective, environmentally acceptable methods of handling and storing pest control chemicals and washing/rinsing of pest control application equipment. This joint demonstration venture with TVA has been enhanced by the Center’s involvement with pollution prevention projects at agrichemical/fertilizer retail dealerships across the United States.

The overriding goal of this interagency program is to promote acceptance and adaptation of environmental technologies and practices and to introduce applicable technologies to similar industries and businesses across the Valley region and the nation. Simply put, technologies and applications, used totally or in part, to enhance environmental stewardship in one industry often can be used effectively in other industries. Support for the program is being provided in part through U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Structural pest control operations were targeted initially. However, it soon became apparent that additional businesses such as lawn care and nurseries were in need of pollution prevention assistance. Therefore, through the efforts of participating agencies, Herbi-Systems was selected to participate in the initial program.

Herbi-Systems was begun in 1984 to provide lawn care services in the metropolitan area of Memphis. The company has now grown to servicing approximately 3,700 customers on a regular schedule. To provide this service, the firm utilizes eight spray trucks. In addition, Herbi-Systems has expanded its business base to include management of industrial vegetation areas including pipelines, power lines, plant sites, etc., in Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Illinois. To provide this industrial vegetation management service, three additional spray trucks and two specialized applicators are used.

In the company’s beginning, business operations were conducted in conjunction with Taylor Enterprises Termite and Pest Control Company in Bartlett, Tennessee. As business continued to grow and space accommodations I became a problem, Herbi-Systems purchased the present business site in the Bartlett Corporate Park to construct a new modem facility. Recognizing the need to become more environmentally conscious, Mr. Kenny Crenshaw, Herbi-Systems President, invested much time in visiting newly constructed facilities and in discussing management strategies with each manager/owner. Mr. Crenshaw then worked with TVA engineers to ensure that the design for the company’s new facility made use of best available technologies to prevent pollution and meet future regulations.

The new facility design features three secondary containment areas for fertilizer storage, fertilizer blending, and material transfer to application equipment. The floor area of the enclosed garage/shop is sloped to a sump placed in the center of the building. All material spills drain to the sump for recovery. The secondary containment volume of the shop area is more than sufficient to hold the contents of one full applicator spray truck-approximately 1,000 gallons. The door openings and a large exhaust fan provide excellent ventilation in the operation and storage areas. An R-19 insulation was placed in the roof to keep these areas as cool as possible. In addition, the floor of the office was raised four inches higher than the shop area to prevent migration of spills and wash water.

Two separate water supplies were installed to service the office and the mixing operations. An RPZ backflow prevention valve was installed in the supply line serving the operations area to eliminate any potential for cross-contamination.

On the east side of the garage is the truck fill area which slopes to a corner sump that automatically empties into a 2,200-gallon holding tank positioned in the secondary containment structure. As a safety precaution, the truck fill area is elevated to dock height to allow operators to fill each applicator truck without having to climb from ground level onto the truck. In addition to the rinsate tank, one tank was placed in the containment area to store fluid fertilizer.

All mixing operations are performed over the large sump located in the southeast corner of the building. Also, liquid lawn care chemicals and the fertilizer mixer are located over the sump to contain any spills. Once the formulation has been prepared, the operator can easily control all product valves with the application equipment in full view. A safety shower and eye wash station are located within a few feet of the mix area.

Total cost of the new facility, including pollution prevention measures taken, totaled about $450,000, of which the building cost was $330,000. The epoxy coating placed on the concrete floors in the operational areas cost about $8,000. Estimated cost for the additional secondary containment features was about $10,000. It should be noted that costs for pollution prevention technologies/practices are relatively small when management includes these strategies early in the design phases of the project. New construction does enhance the ease with which environmental safeguards can be implemented. However, retrofit systems have been used effectively to provide excellent Environmental stewardship opportunities.

Herbi-Systems has agreed to open the doors of this of model facility for visits from lawn care operators and others interested in environmental stewardship. The site will showcase state-of-the-art containment for fertilizers and pesticides, along with best management practices for agrichemical loading/unloading, mixing, and application. Thus, the company is stepping forward to play a vital role in the interagency pollution prevention model site demonstration program for agricultural industries. Technologies/practices being demonstrated at the Herbi-Systems model site, if implemented by others in the home pest control industry, can greatly protect and enhance the quality of the environment.

Other program collaborators include Tennessee Pest Control Association and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For more information please contact Kenny Crenshaw, Herbi-Systems (901) 382-5296; Ken Nafe, Tennessee Department of Agriculture (615) 360-0179; or Ed Waddell, TVA (205) 386-3491.

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