Winterizing Empty Bulk Chemistry Storage Systems

December 8, 2021

Q. What is the impact of freezing temperatures on empty bulk chemistry storage tanks?

Polyethylene tanks are highly versatile for liquid storage and most frequently used for the bulk storage of agricultural chemicals. Freezing temperatures will not have any effect on an empty polyethylene tank. However, if there is liquid in the tank, make sure the freezing liquid has enough head room to expand.

Q. How should you winterize bulk tank pumps?

  • Close off the main tank and connect a water tank to the inlet side of the pump. DO NOT connect city water or fresh water well to the pump as contamination will occur to fresh water supply.

  • Fill the water tank with at least 15 gallons of 50% anti-freeze and 50% water mixture.

  • Open the pump inlet valves to purge air from system before starting the pump. All air must be removed or pump seal failure will occur.

  • Connect the discharge hose valve to a rinsate tank for proper disposal of chemical.

  • Start the pump and slowly open the discharge valve.

  • Once chemical has been removed and all lines are full of anti-freeze, turn off the pump, close the pump inlet valves, and dispose of rinsate properly.

  • Your pump to the system is now ready for overwinter storage.

Q. How should you winterize mini-bulk tank pumps?

Proper cleaning and storage are essential for the continued function of mini-bulk tank pumps. DO NOT leave water or pesticide in pump.

  • Remove the pump from the tank.

  • Submerge intake hose of pump into a 5-gallon bucket of water. Turn on the pump and allow pump to recycle the water. Open and close bypass by operating shut off valve several times.

  • Submerge intake hose of pump into container of 50% anti-freeze and 50% water mixture. Turn on pump and allow it to run until storage fluid comes out of discharge port.

  • Store the pump filled or coated with anti-freeze. Prolonged exposure to water or pesticide will cause irreparable pump damage. Store the pump properly.

It is important to winterize bulk chemical storage systems when activity is done for the year. Empty polyethylene bulk tanks will overwinter without any freezing damage. It is especially important to properly winterize and store pumps for bulk and mini-bulk tanks.


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