MAY 31 1989
University of Florida
O. Norman Nesheim
Susan P. Whitney
Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida, Gainesville
John T. Woeste, Dean
Proper pesticide waste disposal is an important
part of responsible pesticide use by the certified
pesticide applicator. Improper disposal can lead to
contamination of soil and water, causing serious
liability problems for the pesticide user, as well as
a poor public image. Improper disposal can result
in fines for the pesticide applicator. Everyone who
handles pesticides has more than enough reasons
to read this circular carefully and follow all direc-
Pesticide waste disposal is regulated by the
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act
(FIFRA), the Florida Pesticide Law (Ch. 487 F.S.)
and other regulations. IT IS POSSIBLE TO
DISPOSE OF THESE WASTES LEGALLY,
RESPONSIBLY AND ECONOMICALLY. This
pamphlet will tell you how.
There are four types of pesticide wastes:
RINSE WATER FROM CONTAINERS AND
There are two categories this waste might fall into
that will affect disposal:
Pesticides not regulated as hazardous wastes:
May be disposed of as regular SOLID
WASTE or trash;
Are regulated under STATE LAW;
Must be disposed of according to LA-
Must be disposed of in a CAREFUL MAN-
Pesticides regulated as hazardous wastes:
Are regulated by the Federal Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA);
Are listed in a section of federal regu-
Must be disposed of PROPERLY, usual-
ly by a licensed hazardous waste con-
The label will not tell you if the product is reg-
ulated as a hazardous waste. Consult the lists (Tables
1 and 2) at the end of this circular BEFORE you
dispose of any pesticide wastes. A complete list of
pesticides regulated as hazardous wastes is available
from the Florida Department of Environmental
Regulation (FDER), (904) 488-0300.
Farmers are exempt from complying with most
of RCRA; commercial applicators are not. Under
state law, a farmer may dispose of wastes and triple
rinsed containers on the farmer's property if:
The wastes were generated ON THAT
The disposal does not cause GROUND
or SURFACE WATER CONTAMINATION;
The disposal is consistent with LABEL
County or local regulations may affect disposal.
You must check with local officials when consider-
ing a disposal option.
Sometimes the label will be in direct conflict with
current regulations, especially here in Florida. Some
of the older labels might instruct you to bury waste.
That's not a good idea in Florida. Never dispose of
a pesticide in a manner that might cause ground
water contamination. If you have a question about
possible ground water contamination, call your
agricultural agencies. They can tell you what kind
of soil is in the area and the likely location of the
Now keeping this in mind, let's discuss each of
the four types of wastes and how to properly dis-
pose of them.
Empty BAGS should be shaken clean. They may
be buried in a sanitary landfill (if the operator
Empty DRUMS, BOTTLES, or CANS must be
triple rinsed. Empty the containers into your spray
tank and drain in a vertical position for 30 seconds.
Refill the pesticide container about 1/4 1/5 full
with water and rinse thoroughly. Add this rinse
water to your tank, unless the product is to be
applied without dilution. Be sure to let the pesticide
container drain for a few seconds. Repeat rinsing
and draining two more times. Now add water to
your tank to bring it up to the needed level.
After TRIPLE RINSING, punch holes in the
pesticide containers to prevent reuse. They may then
be buried in a sanitary landfill, if the operator allows
and local regulations allow.
OPEN BURNING of triple rinsed containers and
bags that have been shaken clean is allowed on your
own property if:
the LABEL allows;
you are the OWNER of the crop;
containers are from spray operations ON
you have a BURN PERMIT from the
Division of Forestry;
LOCAL REGULATIONS allow.
But you may burn:
a only one day's accumulation at a time;
a no more than 500 pounds at a time;
no closer than 200 feet from buildings
Pesticide Contaminated Clothing
CLOTHING contaminated by pesticides regu-
lated as solid waste (most pesticides) can be dis-
posed of as solid waste (trash). Clothing con-
taminated by pesticides regulated as hazardous
waste must be disposed of as hazardoul waste.
EXCESS MIXTURE is the diluted pesticide that
is left over in your spray tank after a pesticide
application. The way to "dispose" of EXCESS
MIXTURE is to use it on a labeled site. It usually
cannot be stored. Avoid the problem of excess
mixture; measure and calibrate carefully. Fill your
spray tank with only the amount required to do the
job. Don't generate excess mixture.
EXCESS PRODUCT is unused pesticide that
you no longer need because you have stopped pro-
ducing a particular commodity or because you no
longer have a particular pest control problem. The
best way to "dispose" of EXCESS PRODUCT is to
find someone who can use it. You may ask the
supplier or manufacturer if they will take it back.
If you can't use it or give it away, you must arrange
for a hazardous waste contractor to dispose of it.
Call the FDER for a list of contractors. Avoid the
problem of excess product; buy only what you can
use in one season.
You may be able to get rid of labeled excess
product during AMNESTY DAYS. When in op-
eration, this program allows you to dispose of up
to 100 lbs. at no cost (or more for a fee). Call 1-
800-342-0184 to find out when the next one will be
held in your area.
Improperly disposed RINSE WATER from
application equipment has great potential for cau-
sing ground and surface water contamination.
Don't discharge rinse water to the ground.
Don't discharge rinse water to septic systems
you're increasing the chance that it will get
into the ground water.
a Don't discharge rinse water to ditches or
streams it is illegal and may cause damage
to neighbor's crops or trees. It may be a
serious hazard to fish and other wildlife.
Don't bury rinse water it may contaminate
a Do minimize rinse water wash out equip-
ment only when necessary.
Do re-apply rinse water to a labeled site this
is allowed under federal law and will not result
in an applied concentration above the label
Do re-use rinse water to dilute the next batch
of formulation, as long as the site to which
the rinse water is applied is a labeled site.
Five percent of the water for dilution may be
Other Solutions and Options
Some new technologies have been and are being
developed that may provide other means of pesticide
The FDER has worked with the Institute of
Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) at the
University of Florida to develop a system that
permits the treatment of rinse water from
pesticide application equipment in above-
ground degradation tanks. These tanks allow
rinse water to be evaporated on site. An
FDER permit is required to use such a tank.
More information is in IFAS Agricultural
Engineering Extension Report 87-21, Evapora-
tion/Degradation System for Pesticide Equip-
ment Rinse Water, available from the IFAS
Agricultural Engineering Department, Rogers
Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611.
Spray systems that keep the pesticide product
and water separate until they meet at the
nozzle are new developments. Injection of the
pesticide at the nozzle eliminates the need to
rinse the spray tank because the pesticide is
never inside the tank.
Publicly Owned Waste Water Treatment Works
(POTW) can accept rinse water and treat it.
If you have the permission of a POTW you
may be able to dispose of rinse water to the
sewer system. Make sure you have permission
or you may be liable for a sewer system
Table 1. Common Pesticides Regulated as Toxic Hazardous
Common Chemical Name Trade Name
amitrole Weedazol, others
cacodylic acid Phytar, others
chlordane Chlordane, others
DBCP Nemagon, others
1, 2-D DD, others
1, 3-D Telone, Vorlex
2, 4-D Weedone, others
ethylene dibromide EDB, Soilbrom, others
lindane Isotox, others
maleic hyrazide MH-30, others
methyl bromide Brom-o-gas, others
methoxychlor Marlate, others
thiram Terson, others
warfarin (3% or less) Coumadene, others
zinc phosphide (10% or less) ZP, others
For a complete listing of pesticides regulated as
hazardous wastes contact FDER at (904) 488-0300.
Regulations on disposal of Toxic Hazardous
Wastes (Table 1) differ from those for Acutely
Toxic Hazardous Wastes (Table 2). Contact
FDER for further information.
Table 2.Common Pesticides Regulated As Acutely
Toxic Hazardous Wastes
Common Chemical Name
warfarin (more than 3%)
zinc phosphide (more than 10%)
Gold Crest H60, others
Ethyl Parathion, others
O. Norman Nesheim is the Pesticide Information
Coordinator and Susan P. Whitney is the Pesticide
Education Specialist, Pesticide Informtion Office,
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Univer-
sity of Florida.
We would like to thank Steve .Dwinell, Environmental
Specialist, Florida Department of Environmental
Regulation for reviewing this circular.
This publication was produced at a cost of $374.00, or 7.5 cents
per copy, to provide information on the safe and legal methods of
disposing of pesticide wastes. 4-5M-89
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA. INSTI-
TUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES, G.L. Zachariah, director.
In cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, publishes this
information to further the purpose of the May 8 and June 30, 1914 Acts of
Information on bulk rates or copies for out-of-state purchasers is a ilab-ie f rom C.M H on,
Information on bulk rates or copies for out-of-state purchasers is available from C M Mliton,