We looked at different buildings on the farm that we could adapt and move the chemical store to; the most obvious was the old sow pig house. This was ideal as it had an isolated drainage network that meant any liquid falling on and around the building and muck pad next to it, was kept separate from the storm drains, and they emptied into the old slurry lagoon via a pumping system.
We had our location and so we started our research, I took advice from the Environment Agency, our chemical suppler, our agronomist and the local Police and Fire force to make sure what we were to build would be as state of the art as possible, and comply with all the needed regulations - without breaking the bank! We had just bought a new sprayer which had a larger spraying capacity, so we needed to look at storing more water on site and we also had to create an area to deal with the waste plastic, due to the regulations which require all farm plastic to be recycled. It was required to be stored dry and clean until it was removed from the site.
We designed a plan of works and worked to a budget. We started the work in Feb 2007 and we had it finished by early April 2007. We built it within budget and recycled water tanks from the piggeries. The new store is very up to date with 20,000L storage of water. This water is predominately mains fed but we also recycle grey water off the roof via a rain harvesting filter and system. There is a gentle sloping filling station where the sprayer parks at filling, which has a submerged pump in a collection tank where, given an emergency when filling, the operator can hit a switch on the wall and divert any spill into a 1000L plastic holding tank to be correctly dealt with. The new store opens on to this area, so no chemical is carried outside the store and the filling area. Inside the store it has an impermeable concrete floor and bund that allows us to store up to 1700L of chemical without chance of all the chemical escaping out of container and breaching the bund. The store has a loading door which allows us to unload the chemical on pallets and place the pallets within the store by use of our telescopic reach handler. The roof is made of tin with wooden supports so that, in case of a fire, the roof would collapse inwards and the solid brick walls would create a furnace effect to burn the chemicals safely at a very high temperature. The walls and roof are well insulated so the inside temperature never drops below freezing, which would damage chemicals or packaging, and it has an extraction vent at top and bottom (above the bund level) to remove any chemical vapours. The shelving is made of metal so it does not absorb liquids and it is all well lit, so that we can read labels, and we store the chemicals by category for ease of identification, always keeping powders and granules above liquid, in case of spillage. Regular stock takes allow us to monitor what we are storing and who long they have been in store so they do not go past the ‘use by date’ which is set out by the Governments industry advisors.