U.S. EPA requires ag companies to better manage pesticides in San Joaquin Valley
TURLOCK, Calif. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced settlements with two companies for the improper storage and labeling of agricultural pesticides. Ag Production Company and Watson Ag Chemicals Inc. have agreed to pay a total of $44,363 in civil penalties. The companies have corrected all identified compliance issues.
“Improper storage of pesticides can lead to spills or leaks that may endanger facility workers and the community,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “We are pleased that these companies have corrected the violations and ensure the proper management of pesticides.”
EPA asserted both companies violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which regulates the distribution, sale and use of pesticides in the United States. Ag Production Company agreed to pay $24,697; Watson Ag Chemicals will pay $19,666.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation, on behalf of EPA, inspected the Turlock, California, facility of Ag Production Company and the Caruthers, California, facility of Watson Ag Chemical Inc. in 2017. The violations at both facilities included:
- Distribution of misbranded pesticides from bulk storage tanks bearing labels that were damaged or incomplete.
- Failure to keep containment structures liquid tight by sealing cracks and seams.
- Failure to meet the holding capacity requirements for existing containment pads and/or secondary containment units.
- Failure to maintain records.
FIFRA and its supporting 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 and distributing, pesticides must comply with applicable regulations and pertinent sections of their labels. All who apply pesticides, including consumers, are required to follow the label instructions for proper use, storage, and disposal.
For more information on pesticides, please visit https://www.epa.gov/pesticides.
For more information on FIFRA, 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, which include many of the requirements at issue in these cases, visit https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/pesticide-containers.