EPA Fines Ag Products Companies $74,880 For
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency TODAY announced settlements with two
companies selling agricultural chemicals in California and Arizona over
improper storage and containment of federally regulated pesticides.
San Francisco, Calif.-based agricultural products
company Wilbur-Ellis must pay $62,080 in civil penalties and, separately,
Collierville, Tenn.-based agricultural products company Helena Chemical must
pay $12,800 in civil penalties. Both companies had multiple violations under
the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which
regulates the distribution, sale and use of pesticides in the U.S.
“Failing to meet standards for properly managing
pesticides puts workers and the environment at risk,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific
Southwest. “Regulated facilities must ensure that protection of our health and
environment is a top priority.”
The violations were found during April 2011,
January 2012, and January 2013 inspections conducted by the California
Department of Pesticide Regulation and the Arizona Department of Agriculture,
and have since been corrected.
Wilbur-Ellis facilities in Glenn, Calif., Hughson,
Calif., and Buckeye, Ariz. had unsealed cracks in the floors and/or walls of
the facilities’ pesticide containment areas, and, in addition, the Glenn
facility was found to have an undersized containment area. The company’s Glenn
and Hughson facilities were found to have improper safeguards for pesticide
equipment, such as hoses and valves, which increases the risk of a pesticide
release to the environment. Additionally, the Hughson facility was improperly
using an external site gauge to monitor levels of liquid pesticide in a storage
tank, a violation that increases the risk of a pesticide release. Further,
Wilbur-Ellis was also cited for inadequate tank labeling, recordkeeping, and
Helena Chemical’s Hanford, Calif. pesticide
repackaging facility was found to have an inadequate containment area for
potential pesticide spills that may occur during offloading of pesticides from
trucks, and inadequate safeguards for pesticide equipment, which increase the
risk of a pesticide release to the environment.
In total, Helena Chemical and Wilbur-Ellis operate
hundreds of pesticide facilities nationwide.
Labels: California Ag News, EPA Fines Ag Product Companies for Pesticide Violations, EPA fines pesticide violations, pesticide violations in California