On Wednesday the EPA announced that Simplot has agreed to pay a $65,248 penalty for federal pesticide handling and storage requirement violations. The violations occurred at their company’s Umatilla, OR and Moreland, ID retail facilities.
Investigators said a 12” hole was discovered in the floor of the Umatilla warehouse, which would have allowed bulk pesticides, such as Gramoxone SL 2.0 and Vydate, to contaminate the ground underneath the structure.
Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, discharge outlets and gravity drains through the base or wall of an existing containment structure must be sealed to prevent migration of pesticides outside of the structure and minimize the possibility of environmental harm.
An inspection of the Moreland facility found two large containers with leaking gaskets on hatch covers that allowed the pesticide Vapam HL to leak out and spill onto the floor of its outdoor containment. EPA said Simplot failed to remove the spilled pesticide which then solidified on the ground, creating a potentially hazardous situation where employees could be exposed to the pesticide.
FIFRA requires all stationary pesticide containers to be resistant to extreme temperature changes, constructed of materials that are adequately thick to not fail and resistant to corrosion, and capable of withstanding all operating stresses. The law further requires that leaks on or in any containment structure be collected and recovered no later than the end of the day on which pesticides have been spilled or leaked.
“Pesticides facilities have a responsibility to ensure their products are safely stored so that the people working there and living nearby are not exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals,” noted Ed Kowlaski, Director of EPA Region 10’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division.
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