Pesticide Laws and Enforcement
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforces federal pesticide laws. Pesticides and pesticide labels must be registered with EPA. No person may use a pesticide contrary to label directions or for an unlabeled purpose.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) enforces Wisconsin’s pesticide laws under Wisconsin Statutes sections 94.67 to 94.71, Wis. Stats. Under these laws, DATCP:
- Regulates the distribution, storage, handling and use of pesticides. (The Department of Natural Resources also regulates aquatic pesticide applications.)
- Licenses pesticide manufacturers and labelers.
- Licenses pesticide dealers and distributors.
- Licenses commercial pesticide applicators.
- Licenses and certifies individual commercial applicators.
- Certifies farmers and commercial applicators for competence in using pesticides. DATCP has adopted pesticide rules, which have the force of law. These include the following chapters of the Wisconsin Administrative Code:
- ATCP 29 (Pesticide Use and Control)
- ATCP 30 (Pesticide Product Restrictions)
- ATCP 31 (Groundwater Protection Program)
- ATCP 33 (Pesticide Bulk Storage)
- ATCP 34 (Chemical and Container Collection Program)
- ATCP 35 (Agricultural Chemical Cleanup Program)
State Law Enforcement
Pesticide law violations may result in the following penalties:
DATCP may deny, suspend or revoke a license or permit, as appropriate. License and permit holders are entitled to a public hearing. See Wisconsin Statutes section 93.06(7) and (8).
DATCP may issue a temporary holding order to prohibit the sale or movement of a suspected illegal pesticide, pending further examination or analysis. A temporary holding order may remain in effect for up to 60 days. DATCP may issue a permanent order if DATCP finds, after further examination, that the pesticide is illegal. The pesticide custodian must then dispose of the pesticide in a manner approved by DATCP. See Wisconsin Statutes section 94.71(2).
DATCP may issue a special order, prohibiting a named person from violating pesticide laws or rules. DATCP may issue special orders on a summary basis, where necessary to protect public health or the environment. See Wisconsin Statutes section 94.71(3)(c).
DATCP may seek a court injunction to prohibit violations of pesticide laws, rules or orders. See Wisconsin Statutes section 94.71(3)(a).
A person who violates a pesticide law, rule or order may be subject to a court-ordered civil forfeiture of not less than $100 nor more than $500 for the first violation and not less than $200 nor more than $1,000 for any subsequent violation within 5 years. See Wisconsin Statutes section 94.71(1)(a)1.
- A commercial applicator, dealer or distributor who knowingly violates pesticide statutes, rules or orders may be fined up to $5,000 or imprisoned up to one year in the county jail, or both. See Wisconsin Statutes section 94.71(1)(a)2.
- Other persons who knowingly violate pesticide statutes, rules or orders may be fined up to $1,000 or imprisoned up to 30 days, or both. See Wisconsin Statutes section 94.71(1)(a)2.