U.S. EPA Requires Imperial County Company to Safely Manage Pesticides
LOS ANGELES —The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement with Rockwood Chemical Company over an improperly stored and labeled agricultural pesticide at its facility in Brawley, Calif. The company, a pesticide re-packager and distributor, will pay a $50,929 civil penalty and has corrected all identified compliance issues.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation inspected the Brawley facility, in Imperial County, in 2016. Based on those inspections, EPA asserted multiple violations under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which regulates the storage, labeling, distribution, sale, and use of pesticides in the U.S.
“All types of violations—from improper containment areas to poor recordkeeping—can lead to spills or leaks of pesticides,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Facilities that produce or refill pesticides must follow federal requirements to protect their workers, the public, and the environment.”
Rockwood repackages and distributes Eptam 7E, an herbicide which is injected into soil or applied through irrigation systems. In humans, it is a nerve signal disruptor and harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
The inspection found that Rockwood did not have a proper containment pad in the area where trucks park to refill its bulk pesticide storage tank. Containment pads are required at such facilities to intercept leaks and spills. The inspection also found that the Brawley facility failed to:
- anchor its pesticide storage tank;
- seal cracks in its refilling containment area;
- keep proper inspection and maintenance records; and
- keep records of the repackaging of the pesticide into refillable containers.
Additionally, the facility’s bulk pesticide storage container did not include required label information, including the EPA establishment number, which identifies where the pesticide was last produced.
The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act helps safeguard the public by ensuring that pesticides are used, stored and disposed of safely. Pesticide registration and labeling requirements protect public health and the environment by minimizing risks associated with the production, handling and application of pesticides. Pesticide registrants and re-packagers must comply with the regulations, while consumers are required to follow the label instructions for proper use and disposal.