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Chemigation safety measures

Chemigation can be an effective, safe way of applying certain agricultural chemicals to some irrigated crops, if you use the proper irrigation system and anti-pollution safety devices to protect the water source.

On this webpage, you’ll find general chemigation safety measures and management practices. These practices minimize the potential risk of accidentally allowing any injected chemical to flow back into the irrigation well, surface water source or to discharge onto the land where not intended, possibly creating a public health problem.

This webpage does not describe the protection requirements for chemigation systems connected to a potable well or public water supply system.

Basics of chemigation

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Safety measures required by chemigation law

Minnesota pesticide and fertilizer chemigation regulations (parts 1505.2100 to 1505.2800) require owners and operators of any irrigation system intending to practice chemigation to:

Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) staff will inspect chemigation systems both on a routine and complaint basis.

Figures 5 and 6 show typical arrangements of basic safety devices. Some requirements will vary depending on type of chemical (pesticide or fertilizer) and water source location. You can only use alternative safety devices if approved in advance by MDA staff.

Chemigation safety equipment arrangement
Figure 5: Chemigation safety equipment arrangement when applying a pesticide with an irrigation system connected to an irrigation well.
Chemigation safety equipment arrangement
Figure 6: Chemigation safety equipment arrangement when applying a fertilizer with an irrigation system connected to an irrigation well.
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Additional protection

In addition to the safety equipment and measures previously described, several other devices and management measures can improve chemigation operation and safety to the environment.

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Management practices

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Jerry Wright, emeritus Extension engineer; Fred Bergsrud, former Extension agricultural engineer and John Peckham, former manager, Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Acknowledgments

Updated by Joshua Stamper.

Reviewed in 2018

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