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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA Requires Ag Companies to Better Manage Pesticides in California’s Central Valley

04/12/2017
Contact Information: 
Soledad Calvino (calvino.maria@epa.gov)
415-972-3512

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced separate settlements with two companies over the improper storage and labeling of agricultural pesticides. J.R. Simplot Company, one of the largest privately-held agribusiness companies in the nation, and Gar Tootelian, Inc., a long-time distributor of chemicals and fertilizers in the San Joaquin Valley, have agreed to pay a total of $131,920 in civil penalties. The firms have committed to correcting all of the identified compliance issues.

Both companies operated facilities with multiple violations under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, which regulates the distribution, sale and use of pesticides in the United States. Simplot agreed to pay $98,960 and, separately, Gar Tootelian will pay $32,960.

“Pesticide facilities must be managed to prevent releases that could harm workers and the environment,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “We will continue to work side-by-side with the State of California to ensure companies manage their pesticides safely.”

Simplot operates five facilities in California’s Central Valley subject to the enforcement actions, including in the communities of Stockton, Terra Bella, Five Points, Traver, and Colusa. Inspections in 2015 and 2016 by EPA and by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation on behalf of EPA found 23 violations.

At its Stockton facility, the violations included:

  • Failure to anchor or elevate bulk pesticide storage tanks, a requirement to prevent the tanks from floating in the event of an earthquake or flood.
  • Labels with missing net contents on bulk pesticide storage containers. This information is required on pesticides offered for sale, and is necessary to account for amounts of pesticide in the event of an emergency. 
  • A label with the incorrect EPA establishment registration number on a pesticide storage container. This number is used to identify where the product was produced, and is crucial in maintaining product integrity. 

At its Traver facility, the violations included: 

  • Failure to anchor or elevate bulk pesticide storage tanks.
  • Labels with missing net contents on bulk pesticide storage containers.
  • ​Failure to seal cracks in pesticide containment pads, meant to prevent releases of any pesticides that spill or leak from pesticide containers.

At its Five Points facility, the violations included:

  • Failure to anchor or elevate bulk pesticide storage tanks.
  • Failure to seal cracks in the pesticide containment pad.

At its Terra Bella facility, the violations included: 

  • Failure to anchor or elevate bulk pesticide storage tanks.
  • Use of refillable containers for two of its pesticides without properly identifying them as such, or including clean-up instructions.  Failure to do so could lead to the improper usage of refillable containers and potential contamination of products in the container.
  • Labels with missing net contents on bulk pesticide storage containers.

At its Colusa facility, the violations included:

  • Inadequate holding capacity for a pesticide containment pad. The pad is meant to contain any pesticides that spill or leak from transport vehicles.


Gar Tootelian operates a facility in Reedley, Calif., which was inspected by EPA in February 2016. The violations included:

  • Failure to anchor or elevate bulk pesticide storage tanks.
  • Labels with missing net contents on bulk pesticide storage containers and portable containers.
  • Failure to meet standards for refillable containers. The containers used for refilling and transporting pesticide were missing one-way valves or tamper-evident devices. 
  • Failure to meet design requirements for pesticide containment structures. The firm failed to protect pesticide dispensing equipment against damage and had a drain improperly configured through the containment wall surrounding its bulk pesticide tanks.

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 and refillers (i.e., those that repackage pesticides into refillable containers) must comply with the 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  

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