By Michelle Huitt, Assistant Vice President

With more than 15,000 golf courses covering approximately 1.7 million acres of land in the United States, these facilities can pose a significant risk to our environment. Golf courses typically have aboveground storage tanks with capacities of 550 gallons or less, which means that the tanks are not regulated by the states and do not require Financial Assurance. The tanks serve a variety of purposes, including storing diesel for the golf carts, as well as herbicides and pesticides used to maintain the grounds. Golf courses also contain various ponds and water features which require maintenance, and can also carry harmful contaminants throughout the property. Storage facilities onsite holding chemicals and fertilizers are also cause for concern. All of these golf course pollution scenarios are highlighted further below.

Herbicide and pesticide storage and use
One exposure that is unique to golf courses is the storage and application of herbicides and pesticides which require proper certification of all employees engaged in applying these substances. Although the new generation of pesticides are much safer than those used in the past, there is still a significant exposure anytime chemicals come into contact with soils and groundwater. Storage of pesticides/herbicides along with other chemicals and fertilizers is also a concern. Any leak or mixing of materials could lead to a significant pollution event.

Faulty or damaged storage tank equipment
Aboveground storage tanks can present an exposure in the event of a spill or leak, causing harm to the golf course environment as well as a hefty cleanup bill. It is very common to find aboveground tanks at golf courses which house various chemicals, pesticides, and fuels for daily use at the facility. The vast majority of claims come from damaged or faulty piping, with delivery of the product coming in a close second. Preventing the loss can be far less costly than the clean up cost and fines that may be incurred due to spills.

Drainage and irrigation problems
The average golf course uses 312 gallons of water per day for maintenance of the grounds. As this water flows through the property, it can pick up contaminants such as petroleum, pesticides, and fertilizers.  Over-irrigation and stormwater runoff can exacerbate this type of contamination, leading to pollution conditions on and off-site.

While Financial Assurance may not be a requirement for the size and contents of the tanks used for golf courses, a pollution policy is an excellent way to protect assets if a release occurs from the tanks or other storage containers at a location. The PartnerOne Fuel Solutions program provides storage tank coverage, as well as Site Pollution coverage for cleanup costs at a tank owner’s facility due to releases from the site itself and/or scheduled tanks on the policy. It may also cover the batteries used in the golf carts and any other fuel storage systems on the premises. Coverage for storage tank liability only starts at $700 and can be expanded to include Site Pollution Liability if needed.

For more information, contact your PartnerOne Environmental underwriter today.

Information for this article was obtained from the following sources: