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U.S. EPA requires ag companies to better manage pesticides in California and Arizona

09/24/2018
Contact Information: 
Soledad Calvino (calvino.maria@epa.gov)
415-972-3512

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced settlements with two companies for the improper storage and labeling of agricultural pesticides. Nutrien Ag Solutions, Inc., formerly doing business as Crop Production Services, Inc., and Colusa County Farm Supply, Inc., a distributor of chemicals and fertilizers in Northern California, have agreed to pay a total of $345,148 in civil penalties. The firms have corrected all identified compliance issues.

“Companies that produce or refill pesticide products are required to carefully follow FIFRA requirements to ensure the public and the environment are protected,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Enforcement Division Director Kathleen Johnson. “Improper storage of pesticides can lead to spills or leaks that may adversely affect human health and the environment.”

EPA asserted both companies had multiple violations under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, which regulates the distribution, sale and use of pesticides in the United States. Nutrien Ag Solutions agreed to pay $331,353; Colusa County Farm Supply will pay $13,795.

Nutrien Ag Solutions, one of the largest providers of crop nutrients in the world, operates one facility in Coolidge, Ariz., and seven facilities in California subject to EPA’s enforcement action, including six in the Central Valley communities of Hanford, Delano, Cutler, Bakersfield, Huron and Stockton, and one in Santa Maria, Calif. Inspections between 2013 and 2017 by EPA, and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and the Arizona Department of Agriculture on behalf of EPA, found 52 violations.

Examples of the violations at the Nutrien Ag Solutions facilities included:

  • Failure to protect pesticide containers and pesticide-dispensing equipment from damage by moving equipment;
  • Failure to meet capacity requirements for secondary containment units and pads, which contain pesticides that may spill or leak from bulk containers and trucks;
  • Distribution and sale of misbranded pesticides;
  • Failure to collect and recover pesticide spills and leaks as required; and
  • Failure to keep records related to the distribution and storage of pesticides.

Colusa County Farm Supply operates a facility in Williams, Calif., which was inspected by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation in May 2017. The violations found included:

  • Failure to keep proper inspection and maintenance records;
  • Failure to keep records of the repackaging of pesticides into refillable containers; and
  • Improperly using an external sight gauge to monitor levels of liquid pesticide in a storage tank.

Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act regulations help safeguard the public, the environment, and facility workers by ensuring that pesticides are used, stored, and disposed of safely, and that pesticide containers are adequately cleaned. Pesticide registrants, refillers (i.e., those that repackage pesticides into refillable containers), and others in the business of selling, distributing, or applying pesticides must comply with applicable regulations, while consumers are required to follow the label instructions for proper use and disposal.

For more information on pesticides, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/pesticides

For more information on Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-federal-insecticide-fungicide-and-rodenticide-act

For more information on EPA’s regulations concerning pesticide containers and storage of pesticides, that include many of the requirements at issue in these cases, visit: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/pesticide-containers

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