Being named one of five 2011 Environmental Respect regional winners is about the only good news the Crop Production Services (CPS) branch in Washington Court House, OH, has received all spring. “Last year by mid-May, we had 95% of our corn in the ground,” says Steve Mossbarger, facility manager. “This year, we’re lucky if we have 1% in the ground — and that corn is not looking good.”
This Ohio winning site has the potential for disaster well contained. “Our bulk fertilizer tanks are surrounded by a 47,000-gallon containment dike,” explains Mossbarger. “Our chemical building could contain 27,000 gallons, not including the diking we have constructed around the inside bulk tanks that’s designed to contain another 3,360 gallons.”
Protecting The Waterway
There’s a new project underway at this Environmental Respect winning facility, a project that speaks more of environmental respect than all of the concrete and reinforcement rods combined. This site has been serving area growers for more than 50 years. “We have never been cited for a serious violation involving spills or runoff,” explains Steve Cundiff, manager, operations compliance.
CPS has initiated a phytoremedian program. “What we have done is to intercept any rainwater runoff from our property before it can empty into Paint Creek,” explains Cundiff. “We’ve eliminated the natural slope into the creek from our property by adding about 10 feet of fill. The area created has become a series of basins that catch runoff.”
Underground drains empty the runoff into a large standpipe where a special valve creates a hydraulic lift when excess runoff occurs. The water spills over into a series of catch basins each about one-half acre. As the water settles and moves through a series of three basins or pans, much of it along with any incidental nutrient particles either evaporates or will be taken up by some 1,750 hybrid willow and poplar trees and grasses planted in the pans.
“We have taken a proactive approach and we are trying to create an area that is good for the environment without being regulated,” says Cundiff.