Looking after chemicals and pesticides

Looking after chemicals and pesticides


Landowners are legally responsible for the safe use and disposal of
farm chemicals.

Many everyday products used around the home or on the property contain a range of chemicals which can have an impact on health or the environment.

These include paints, cleaning agents (such as detergents, varnishes or cosmetics), herbicides (weed killers) and pesticides or insecticides, baits and treatments to protect wood or pets, as well as fuel and fertilisers.

These chemicals are often dangerous, some are flammable, most are poisonous, and all can harm the environment if used incorrectly. In the Sydney drinking water catchment, landowners have the responsibility to ensure that chemicals do not find their way into farm dams, waterways, wetlands and groundwater. This includes properly managing contractors using chemicals on your property.

There are a number of things to consider when managing your chemicals:

  1. Storage
    Keep all chemicals in an area specially designed for this purpose. Pesticides last longer with safe storage, and people, animals and the environment are protected.
  2. Safe Use
    Use the right chemical for the right job and follow the instructions on the label, including information on the quantity of the chemical to be used (seeking advice on training requirements). When using pesticides, check the weather and do not spray if it is too windy, very hot or humid and follow any weather warnings on the label. Use personal protective equipment (PPE) and let your neighbours know what you are planning. When spraying, keep pesticides or herbicides away from waterways, plants and animals.
  3. Transporting chemicals or pesticides
    If transporting farm chemicals, you are responsible for doing so in a way that protects yourself, other people, their property, animals and the environment.
  4. Responding to spills or accidents
    If any spills occur, the main steps are to isolate, contain, decontaminate and dispose. In the drinking water catchment, contact the fire brigade on triple zero to report or get help to clean up a chemical spill.
  5. Safe disposal
    Landowners are legally responsible for the safe use and disposal of farm chemicals. National programs called drumMUSTER (recycling chemical drums) and ChemClear (disposing of unwanted agricultural chemicals) have been set-up to help landholders safely manage their farm chemicals. Also contact your local council about disposing of other unwanted household chemicals. Do not dispose of chemicals in any form down drains, gullies or watercourses. Avoid applying pesticides before rainfall, and take extra care when spraying near farm dams and creeks.

For more information, see managing your chemicals.

What you can do


Monday 18 October
2,426,169 ML
2,581,850 ML
9,030 ML
1,290 ML
3,065 ML
Monday 18 October