Best Way to Prevent Chemical Leaks

Best Way to Prevent Chemical Leaks

Posted by Andrew Greess on Jun 22, 2018

What is the actual  true cost of a shut off valve? Some would argue just $5 or $10 dollars. Some would argue maybe $100 to build a quality fitting with shut off valve. Andrew Greess, of Qspray, could argue that it could potentially cost you hundreds of dollars if you do it cheaply. Because the chances are you will have a leak or if you have no shut off valve and you have a problem you'll then need to drain out gallons of fertilizer/pesticide or whatever you have in your tanks! Or worse a costly clean up on your hands!

Placing shut off valves in key areas like at the base of the tanks or at the top of the hose by the spray gun will eliminate chemical spill issues. If your spray gun starts leaking – quickly shut it off before product leaks across your client's yard on the way back to the truck. A shut off valve at the base of the tank allows for filter cleanings and eliminates the potential for having your entire tank drain before you realize the fitting broke.

Take a careful look at your companies rigs and look for places to add a shut off valve. One day you may be glad you added this small upgrade.

The next video also deals with Chemicals and Hose Equipment:

Andrew Greess: Good equipment design can prevent leaks. What do I mean by that? Good equipment design, for example, good valving. A valve in the right place can really save your butt. Here is an example. I don't care what equipment you use, when you're running harsh chemicals like pesticides, or herbicides, or fertilizers, parts are going to wear our.

Usually, it's the O rings, or the gaskets, or the seals. For example, here's a way to do it is, have a shutoff valve in front of the valve, so if your gun starts leaking, you shut it off, you're not dripping chemical over 300 feet customer's pool deck, customer's driveway.

Here's a great example. Here's a spray rig built by another company, and I could probably do an hour just on this photo because this is what I would call junk. We've got a really cheap tank fitting there, can you see that? It's just spun welded in.

This is the scariest part. A really cheap nylon plastic fitting here, we've got a really cheap clamp, and we've got really cheap hose. Any one of these could fail, and think about this, after a summer in Arizona, you hit a bump, and this breaks.

I was giving this presentation in Tucson a couple of years ago, and a guy raised his hand and said, "Andrew, the exact thing happened to me. I had a brand new, 200gallon weed sprayer, filled it up with preemergent, as I was leaving the lot, hit a bump, this fitting broke, spilled 200 gallons of preemergent."

The only good thing was, he was on his lot, so he wasted a couple of hours and a bunch of chemical and kiddy wood in cleaning up, but he wasn't on the news, but look at that fitting. It's just junk.

Here's the right way to do it. This is a heavy duty tank fitting that can be tightened and repaired, heavy duty metal fitting, brass shutoff valve, and then the filter. Think of this too. On this top picture, you can't check the filter on that top picture.

There's no way to shut off the flow, so if your tank is full and you have a problem, you can't shut off the flow, you can't take the pump apart, you can't do anything without dumping that tank, so that's another problem. You do another hour on that.

This picture on the bottom right was a 200 gallon spray trailer from an entity in Arizona also that was having some issues. They were having pump problems, but for some reason, I decided to get on my knees and look under that sprayer.

This is what I found, and that is just cheap plastic fittings on the bottom of a 200gallon sprayer in Arizona. Think about what's on our roads, what could get kicked up on that. Think about a couple of summers in Arizona.

That's a 19 cent PVC fitting there. If that breaks, the only way you'd know you just spilled 200 gallons is when you got to your next stop, and you went to spray, and the tank was empty. Crazy.

It's crazy. What happened here was, this was a government agency, and they went low bid, and they got the cheapest bid, and that's where someone saved money, and they didn't even know it until I pointed it out to them. It's not worth it.

Here's another example. This is what's called a sight tube. On some, particularly fiberglass tanks, companies want a sight tube so that you can see the level of the water, and sight tubing is usually just plastic tubing. It's not chemical hose, because you want to see the chemical, but these are two plastic fittings on the sight tube.

If either of these plastic fittings breaks, let's say the top one breaks, this is going to drain down to that arrow. The water is going to drain all the way down to that bottom arrow because that's what water does. It goes to its lowest point.

The way to do this would be, put a shut off valve. I put a shutoff valve on both of them but if you put a shut off valve on the bottom one, then it's only going to drain to the top one. Can you see that?

These are just cheap plastic fittings, and put a $5 or $10 shut off valve there, you can, now if you have a problem, you've spilled 10 gallons. You didn't spill 150 gallons. I want to train you to look for those kinds of risks before you have a problem, is my point here.

If you missed the first videos in the series, please check out those blog posts here:

Spray Equipment Safety Training Seminar Introduction

Rules for Spray Equipment Safety Seminar Discussion

What are the Safety Risk Seminar Topics?

Vehicle Equipment Security: Protecting Your Driver and Others

Vehicle Equipment Security Securing Your Backpack, Gas Can, Hose Reel

Learn Which Vehicle Equipment Areas to Inspect Carefully

A Quick Check Can Keep You Out of Hall of Shame

The Importance of Checking Your Rig and Proper Equipment

Importance of Proper Vehicle Load Stability

How to Avoid Cuts, Burns & Abrasions on the Job

Preventing Slipping Injuries

Injury Prevention on the Job

How to Help Minimize Back Strain

Job Site Safety Tips to Help Avoid Injuries

Proper Chemical Protection and Cleaning Are So Important 

Chemical Spill Prevention

You can also check out the slides from the Spray Equipment Safety Seminar here:

For more information on Andrew Greess, visit