Safe Chemical Handling Improves Bottom Line in a California Golf Maintenance Department

Golf course management involves the purchase, storage, and dispensing of many types of liquids from fertilizers to insecticides and having to deal with all of the issues that come from these activities. Accordingly, Mike Higuera, Jr., Manager of The Ranch Golf Course in San Jose, CA suffered  such  difficulties when using high volumes of liquids: spills, employee injuries, leaks, and loss of product.  The initial issue was that the 55-gallon drums of liquids were stored horizontally in a dedicated chemical shed with spigots  mounted  on  the  fronts.  Positioning  the  full  drums  was  both  difficult  and  dangerous.  Then,  because  they  projected  into  the  room,  the  spigots  were  often  subject  to  accidental  contact,  sometimes  being  completely  dislodged. The resultant mess was expensive and, depending on the chemical, dangerous to employees. “I had tried a suction pump with an upright 55 gallon drum,” said Higuera. “But it had a three-foot stroke and was hard to pump. My guys were constantly straining muscles using it. I read the trade press to keep up on any new technologies that might make my job easier,” he said. “That’s where I read an article about Goat Throat pumps. I had  tapped  a  few  kegs  in  my  youth,  so  I  was  familiar  with  the  technology  that  permitted  the  drums  to  be  positioned  vertically  and  then  easily  pressurized  with  short  strokes.  I  added  it  to  the  budget  and  bought  my  first  one.  That  was  six  years  ago  and  not  only  have  the  pumps  turned  out  great,  I’ve  also  added  some  options  that  make life at the course even easier. One is a remote tap that comes at the end of flexible tubing so we can set the receptacle on the floor to fill it. That is very helpful when we’re pumping one of our fertilizers, liquid iron. It weights 10 pounds per gallon, so if the employee is filling a 5-gallon can, he would end up holding 50 pounds. The other option was to use an adaptor with an air regulator on top. We hook the pump up directly to our compressor, so we don’t have to hand pump. “The bottom line is that the pumps have saved us time, injuries, and product.  They paid for themselves very quickly.”

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