Permits Required For Chemical Application Through Irrigation Systems
Permits Required for Chemical Application through Irrigation Systems
Chemigation is the application of any chemical (fertilizer, pesticide, herbicides, or fungicide) through an irrigation system. If a producer intends to inject nitrogen fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides through an irrigation system, a Chemigation Permit is required from the local NRD prior to such application.
The Nebraska Legislature passed the Chemigation Act in the mid-1980s. The purpose of the law was to require safety equipment, operator training and inspection measures necessary to protect groundwater resources from possible contamination. Because of the risks to groundwater and the seriousness of chemigating without a permit, proper equipment, or proper training, can result in civil penalties of not less than $1,000 per day and not more than $5,000 per day for violations. The law also allows the NRD to recover expenses for civil proceedings. The Lewis and Clark Natural Resources District (LCNRD) works closely with local fertilizer distributors and producers to help assure the Chemigation rules are being followed.
The fee for a new Chemigation permit is $50 with the annual renewal permits costing $20. LCNRD staff must inspect all new permits before chemical or fertilizer is injected through the irrigation system. Re-inspections of these systems will occur every 3 years. The deadline for renewal applications is June 1st each year. Any permit received after that date will be treated as a new permit.
When a new permit is received, an inspection of the equipment will be scheduled, typically within 48 hours after notification. Inspections must occur when the irrigation system can be started to allow inspection the of the mainline check valve, low pressure drain, simultaneous interlock and chemical injector check valve. A current chemigation applicator license is required for approval of the permit. A Chemigation applicator’s license is different than a pesticide license and can be obtained by contacting University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Extension. Chemigation training is now being conducted online due to COVID-19 and can be completed at https://water.unl.edu/article/agricultural-irrigation/chemigation by following the step-by-step instructions on the link.
If you plan on injecting any chemical, including fertilizer through an irrigation system, a chemigation permit is required per Nebraska State Law.