2011 Bureau of Agrichemical Management Annual Report

​​​​​Agricultural Chemical Cleanup Program

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- te​​rm 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.

Program Activities 

Remediation: In calendar year 2011, the program closed 25 long-term cleanup cases. The number of active cleanup sites as o​​f December 31, 2011 was approximately 165. Although, the ACCP program continued to operate with reduced staff due to budget constraints, program staff conducted environmental sampling that led to site investigations being required at five agrichemical dealership sites, and received environmental sampling reports conducted through real estate transactions that led to investigations being required at four additional properties (a total of nine new long-term cases). Program staff also reviewed more than 200 workplans and other cleanup correspondence, 165 cost estimates, and issued 14 landspreading permits associated with long-term remediation sites. Chart 1 provides a graphical illustration of the number of long-term cases that were opened and closed cases in the last five years. The largest remediation of 2011 was at Royster-Clark, Inc. in Madison. The Department produced a video tour of the project which can be viewed at Royster Video​

Staff responded to 42 acute spills, and also were able to close the case files for 25 of them. An additional 13 spill cases from previous years were closed. Chart 2 shows the numb​​ers of spills in each of the last five years. Remaining open acute spill cases will be closed following completion of investigative and remedial actions and land spreading of contaminated soil. 

Reimbursement: During calendar year 2011, the program received 49 applications for reimbursement totaling $1,661,659 and the ACCP Fund paid a total of $1,264,726 in reimbursements for these cases. Chart 3 shows the ACCP reimbursement payments made in each of the last five years.

Outreach: The Department developed the following brochures to assist homeowners and others with interest in lead arsenate contamination: 

Lead and Arsenic in Soil at Old Fruit Orchards – Frequently Asked Questions​ and Lead Arsenate Soil Sampling Guidance for Homeowners​. 

Direction for the Coming Year 

Prior to 2007, the ACCP had four case managers. Since then, the program has operated with only two case managers, resulting in fewer cases​​ being initiated each year. Other ways that cases enter the program include assessments resulting from real estate transactions and the decision by responsible persons to remove structures on sites previously closed, which have residual contamination beneath them. Changes to s. ATCP 33.70, Wis. Adm. Code, effective November 2006, requires environmental assessments under specific structures that remain out of use for more than five years. These assessments can also lead to new cases entering the program. 

It is difficult to forecast the effect that a reduced number of new cases will have on reimbursement dollars spent in the ACCP in the coming year. This is due to the lag time between when work is performed and the submittal for reimbursement to the ACCP. The costs for the investigation and cleanup work that were performed at the sites initiated in 2011 will likely be submitted for reim​​bursement by the ACCP in 2012 or later. It is anticipated that the on-going reimbursement amount will be approximately $1.5 million per year.

Due to a structural deficit in the ACCP, the Department was directed to prepare and submit a fund condition report to the legislature. A fund condition report will be su​bmitted to the legislature by June 2012. DATCP will likely discuss program operations with industry stakeholders to see if future efficiencies can be made to the program. 

Ten most common causes for spills: 

  • Valve/appurtenance failure (fixed location) (5 of 42 spills)
  • Pump/apron operation in-transport (4 of 42)
  • Hose/appurtenance failure in-transport (4 of 42)
  • Non-catastrophic tank failure (4 of 42)
  • Individual or operator error (4 of 42)
  • Transportation accident due to vehicle operator (4 of 42)
  • Transportation accident due to mechanical failure (3 of 42)
  • Hose/appurtenance failure during application (2 of 42)
  • Tank failure in-transport (2 of 42)
  • Inadequate container anchoring in-transport (2 of 42)​

For more information about any of the bureau programs you may email the department.​

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