The Agricultural Chemical Cleanup Program (ACCP) directs cleanups of pesticide and fertilizer contamination that results from sudden accidental spills (acute spills) as well as small releases that occur through normal handling practices that, over time, can add up to significant contamination (long- term cleanups) of soil or groundwater at a given site. The program helps minimize contamination of surface water, groundwater and the surrounding environment by ensuring that all agricultural chemical cleanups are conducted effectively and in a timely manner. The program also provides reimbursement for a portion of eligible cleanup costs incurred by the responsible persons.
Remediation: In calendar year 2013, the program closed 18 long-term cleanup cases. A total of six new long-term cases were added in 2013. The number of active cleanup sites as of December 31, 2013 was approximately 132. Program staff reviewed 179 work plans and other cleanup-related reports, 131 cost estimates, and issued 26 landspreading permits associated with long-term remediation sites. Chart 1 summarizes the number of long-term cases that were opened and closed in the last five years. The majority of long-term cleanup cases closed are closed with residual soil and/or groundwater contamination that requires listing on the DNR’s GIS Registry of Contaminated Sites. Five of the newly opened cleanup sites were opened as a result of sampling during new construction planning or site decommissioning. One site was opened following sampling by DATCP staff in areas where obvious contamination was present.
Staff responded to 31 acute spills and were able to close 24 of them. An additional 10 spill cases from previous years were also closed. Chart 2
shows the numbers of reported spills, the number of spill cases closed in the same year they occurred and the total number of spill cases closed in each of the last five years. Any remaining open acute spill cases will be closed following completion of the necessary investigative and remedial actions.
Reimbursement: During calendar year 2013, the program received 43 applications for reimbursement totaling $1,256,829.13 and the ACCP Fund paid a total of $1,022,993.67 in reimbursements. Chart 3 shows the ACCP reimbursement payments made in each of the last five years. In September the Department of Justice and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection reached a $774,000 settlement agreement in State v. Agro Distribution, et al. (Rock Co. Cir. Ct. 11-CV-1916). Under this agreement, Agro Distribution, et al. and their insurer paid $550,000 into the ACCP fund. In addition, Agro Distribution, et al. will forgo an additional $224,000 that the ACCP fund would otherwise pay to the defendants as reimbursement for cleanups at other sites. The amount forgone in 2013 was $51,871.99. Therefore, in 2014, Agro Distribution, et al. will forgo an additional $172,128.01. If Agro Distribution, et al. does not submit sufficient eligible costs to reach this amount, they are required to directly pay into the ACCP fund any remaining amount necessary to reach the $224,000 total. The attached press release contains links which provide the case details.
Most Common Spill Causes in 2013
- Transportation accidents due to vehicle operator (23%)
- Hose/appurtenance failure in transport (16%)
- Valve/appurtance failue during use (13%)
- Inadequate container anchoring in transport (10%)
Changes That Impact ACCP Funding for ACCP
The FY 13-15 Budget Bill included changes that impact the ACCP. They became effective July 2, 2013:
- Funding for Discovery Farms and DATCP Animal Health positions were moved from the ACCP fund to the Agricultural Chemical Management operational fund.
- ACCP surcharge fees were reduced 20 percent.
Changes That Impact ACCP Operations
94.73 (9) of the statutes was repealed. This provision stated, “(9) Sampling requirements. The department, in cooperation with the department of natural resources, shall establish a program for the collection and analysis of soil and other environmental samples at sites where discharges may have occurred, including sites required to be registered according to rules promulgated by the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection under sub. (11)."
Previously, DATCP could sample any property that had handled agricultural chemicals to determine if contamination existed. With the repeal of this statute, DATCP can still sample a property that handled agricultural chemicals to determine if contamination exists, but will now do so only if there is prior indication of a release of fertilizer or pesticides on the property.
94.73 (3m) (w) of the statutes was created and states, “The cost of corrective action taken in response to a discharge from a bulk storage facility, owned or operated by a person who manufactures or distributes fertilizer or pesticide, that is located on property on which no bulk storage facility was located before the effective date of this paragraph, July 2, 2013, unless the person filed construction plans for the bulk storage facility with the department before the effective date of this paragraph, July 2, 2013.”
We understand the intent of this provision was to limit the future eligibility of cleanup costs at newly constructed bulk storage and distribution facilities. We interpret this provision to state that, a bulk storage facility that manufactures or distributes fertilizer or pesticide must have been in operation and licensed, or have filed construction plans under ch. ATCP 33 for that facility before 7/2/13, in order to be eligible for reimbursement for any costs of corrective action taken in response to a discharge from that facility.
It is not yet clear the extent or speed in which the 20 percent reduction in fees will result in a reduction in the ACCP fund balance. The uncertainty is due in part to the time it takes from when fee changes are instituted to the time in which fees are collected and deposited into the fund. It is further complicated by uncertain fluctuations in annual fertilizer and pesticide sales. The deposits to the fund following the settlement with Agro Distribution et al will also increase the fund balance.
Direction for the Coming Year
In the coming year, ACCP staff will continue to manage cleanup activities on more than 130 existing ACCP cleanup sites. We anticipate gaining 5-10 new long term cleanup cases and estimate that we will respond to 30-40 discrete agricultural chemical spills. We estimate that we will provide approximately $1 million of financial reimbursement for eligible cleanup work performed.
For more information about the ACCP you may email the department.