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Andrea uses Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) for rainwater capture and supplying animal drinking water to some of the more remote fields around the farm. A new trailer load of used IBCs had just arrived and Andrea went to inspect them. The first one that she took the lid off had obviously been used for storing some sort of chemicals – it smelled really bad and would need to be thoroughly cleaned before it could be used for drinking water.
She pulled-on her thick PVC waterproof suit over her jogging pants, sweatshirt and favourite black and red Musto wellies; she then put the pallet forks on the tractor and lifted the IBC high in the air so that she could reach inside to clean it. Because of the overpowering smell chemicals, she also put on a NATO rubber gas mask and some black rubber gloves, which she tucked inside the elastic cuffs of her waterproof.
As she unscrewed the lid on the inverted IBC, gallons of dirty cold water started to gush out. She stood under the flow and reached inside the tank with a scrubbing brush to clean it out. Cold water poured over her suit and ran up her arms inside it. It made little rivulets down the bare skin of her sides and she could feel it soaking into the top of her jogging pants. As she proceeded to clean the tank, she progressively got wetter and wetter inside the PVC suit; she could even feel dampness down to the tops of her socks inside her wellies.
With a lot of the chemical residue removed, she started to clean the inside of the tank with a special odour-neutralising liquid which looked a bit like double cream and which had to be scrubbed onto the plastic to eliminate the taint. The thick white liquid ran all over her suit, with some making its way up her sleeves to her arm pits – it felt slimy and cold. Ten minutes later, with the rain starting to get heavier, the job was done and so she turned on the hosepipe to rinse herself clean.
She wedged the hosepipe into the cage of the IBC to form a makeshift shower and then thoroughly rinsed her waterproof suit, both front and back. Standing facing the spray to clean her face allowed the water to squirt into her hood and down inside her collar. Some ran down her chest and some went over her shoulders and trickled all the way down to the small of her back.
Given that she was now very wet inside the PVC suit, she did not hesitate to rinse off the clothes that she was wearing beneath it. She unzipped and stepped out of the PVC suit and completely rinsed her sweatshirt and joggers with the spray from hosepipe; in doing so she washed away the cream cleaner that had run up inside her sleeves.
Although the IBC was now clean, she hadn’t finished her other work for the day, and she knew that she’d freeze to death if she kept on her soaking wet sweatshirt and jogging pants. So, she stripped down to the compression top and cycling shorts that she was wearing as underwear. Even though they were also soaking wet, she pulled-on a big, padded, one-piece waterproof farming suit over the top of them, and then stuffed her wet and muddy bare feet back into her wet Musto wellies.
She’d soon warm up now in the cab of the tractor and wearing her wet underwear inside the heavy padded suit would be a pleasant experience for the rest of the afternoon.