State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2011IN317B
Title: Pollution Prevention Through Better Management of Fertilizers, Pesticides, and Salts In Tanks and On Trailers
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2011
End Date: 2/29/2012
Congressional District: IN-004
Focus Categories: Agriculture, Climatological Processes, Floods
Keywords: spills, tank location, pollution prevention, trailers, fiberglass tank
Principal Investigator: Whitford, Fred
Federal Funds: $ 15,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 30,002
Project 1A. Title: Fiberglass Tanks for Storage, Transport, and Application

Abstract: Growers, commercial industries, and government agencies depend on tanks to store, transport, and apply fertilizers, pesticides, and salts. Lower price, local availability, and great versatility are reasons why poly tanks are purchased over those made of fiberglass or stainless steel. However, there seems to be a renewed interest in fiberglass tanks for storing large quantities of liquid fertilizers on the farm. As growers farm more acres, they need larger quantities of fertilizers on hand to meet their needs in the spring. For instance, a 1,500-acre grain farm will need 80,000 gallons of fertilizers for their crop fertility program.

With the fluctuation in fertilizer prices and the concern about availability, more growers want to off-load 5,000-gallon semis as one way of buying product at lower cost and having inventory ready for spring planting. As more fertilizer storage is contemplated, growers are weighing whether fiberglass tanks are worth the additional cost. With the increase potential on-farm storage of large amounts of fertilizers, tanks that fail have the potential to release tremendous amounts of fertilizers into nearby streams, creeks, and ditches and into groundwater.

Project 1B. Title: Keeping the Trailer Connected to the Truck

Abstract: Just because a hitch comes with a commercial truck, doesn't mean it can pull anything behind it. While it's easy to load a trailer, hook a safety chain, or insert a hitch pin, doing it correctly is an entirely different matter. The truth is that accidents involving detached trailers happen every day across the country.

Many trailer accidents may be unavoidable such as a tire blows after running over debris on the road or a weld on a part of the trailer fails. These types of accidents can happen to even those drivers who are serious about highway safety and conscious about what they pull down the road.

Other accidents are avoidable and can simply be attributable to human error. Human error includes drivers who do not understand how to safely attach a trailer to a truck, or how to load the trailer in order to place enough weight on the tongue of the trailer so that the truck pulling the trailer will still steer properly. Too little or too much weight on the front of a trailer will change how the vehicle towing the trailer will steer and brake tremendously.

Unfortunately, serious and avoidable accidents causing human injury and serious environmental contamination to water and soil can result from drivers that fail to put into practice what they've been taught. Being negligent can cause the driver whose trailer injured others to be civilly and criminally responsible. And by default, the owner of the farm or business whose truck and trailer was involved in the accident may also be brought into the lawsuit, future litigation, and environmental restitution.

Progress/Completion Report, 2011, PDF

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