SEATTLE – The J.R. Simplot Company has agreed to pay a $65,248 penalty for violations of federal pesticide handling and storage requirements at its storage and retail facilities in Umatilla and Moreland, Idaho.
An inspection of a storage warehouse at the Umatilla facility where the company stored bulk quantities of the pesticides Gramoxone SL 2.0 and Vydate revealed a 12-inch hole in the floor of the facility’s containment structure, which would have allowed any liquid spilled on the warehouse floor to contaminate the ground underneath the warehouse.
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. The company 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,” said Ed Kowlaski, Director of EPA Region 10’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division.