Chemical spray drift

Agricultural chemicals applied through spraying have the potential to drift away from the target areas.
This is known broadly as spray drift. Spray drift has the potential to cause injury or damage to plants, animals, environment or property, and can affect human health.

A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of workers and others, including surrounding land users, are not put at risk from activities associated with spraying including the risks associated with spray drift.

Plan before spraying

Chemical spraying is safe when performed by a responsible operator, who follows the manufacturers´ recommendations, including personal safety requirements. However, undesirable spray drift can occur when chemicals are misused or risks associated with this activity are not carefully evaluated and appropriate controls identified.

Some considerations before spraying include:

  • a property management plan that includes spray drift awareness zones and potential buffer areas
  • notifying neighbours
  • using correct chemicals and equipment for the job
  • optimal weather conditions, including temperature
  • your own and others Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • supervision, training or competency requirements to undertake the task.

Further information and relevant legislation

The Northern Territory Farmers Association can provide information and support on industry best practices for chemical spraying and can be contacted on 08 8983 3233.


Waste Management and Pollution Control Act 1998 and Regulations

  • Administered by the Northern Territory Environmental Protection Authority (NTEPA), deals primarily with pollution impacts associated with spray drift, as well as providing a central reporting hotline for pollution related issues
  • Further information is available from the NTEPA website.

Complaints regarding spray drift should be made to Pollution Response Line on 1800 064 567.